Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Remembering Celilo Falls

Some say nearby She Who Watches pictograph
is about looking over her children.
Others say it is a death mask about diseases brought by settlers.

Maybe it will take tearing down upriver dams
to get young people to stop killing themselves.

This poem/film is from my forthcoming book Carbonfish Blues (Fomite, 2018), and is about loss of natural world and teen suicide epidemic which, according to a March 19, 2018 USA TODAY article  “was up 70 % between 2006 and 2016 [. . .] for white children and teens [and] 77% [. . .] for black children and teens.”  I heard one Millennial say recently "Nothing matters." which was an honest feeling, but I wonder how her feeling would change in presence of wild salmon ascending undammed rivers, or at least river sections.  I understand need for flood control, but our society must be more in balance with nature.  I recall Ed Abbey wrote, “One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

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