Terry Wolverton produced the following fevered writing based on four prompts provided by this month’s collaborating poet, Chiwan Choi.
Researchers discover fracking fluids in Pennsylvania well water, but no one cares. They’re drunk on money. That well has pesticides and chemical solvents and fertilizer and motor oil and blood and animal waste and the residue of all the prescription medicines people toss down the drain, so what’s a little fracking fluid to add to the cocktail? We’re mutating faster than we can understand, making our kids autistic, giving ourselves cancer; no wonder we get Alzheimer’s. We drink to forget.
Russell Brand voted world’s 4th most influential thinker.
This redefines what it means to think. To think, one must be famous. One must be young and have a big media platform. One must be semi-hunky in a scruffy sort of way, and have sculpted muscles, all the while pretending none of this matters. To think, one needs to have a slightly sarcastic way of answering the reporter’s questions, all the while seeming sincere and passionate. I used to think that thinking meant having ideas, but now I see I was all wrong.
Our demand is simple: Stop killing us.
But who are we to make such a demand? Don’t we remember signing up for this—to be the sacrificial lambs? They kill us because we are a threat to them. They kill us because they have lost their souls. They kill us because their god is a vengeful god. They kill us because they can. They kill us because, as they have imagined us, we are already dead. They kill us so we don’t kill them first. We demand, but can we make our imaginations more powerful than theirs?
Here is the Face of Civil Rights.
The face has been rearranged, the left eye shattered, the nose broken, the cheekbone disintegrated, the lip split, the jaw dislocated, the collarbone smashed, the windpipe broken, the right ear sliced off. They hold up a mirror: “Not so pretty now, are you?” but she looks and sees something else, something those holding the mirror cannot imagine. She sees her past and she sees her future. She sees herself dancing, dancing on their graves.
Readers are encouraged to write your own poems inspired by the prompts or the fevered writing and post them to comments. The best poem we receive this month will be awarded a $25 prize.