Gifts Ungiven by Nathanael William Stolte

 

When I was 15, Zack de la Rocha told me with a whisper
Your anger is a gift
I didn’t understand what he was giving me
I didn’t understand what this meant
But I liked the way it sounded
Still do
His words have stayed with me through the decades

When I was 25, Vic Ruggiero told me
Every day the human race is
filling me with more disgrace
This I understood
These words have been a mantra
As I’ve trudged in heavy boots
Through a cringe-worthy world

When I was 35, she asked me
Why don’t you write love poems
Or poems about nature?

Darling,
Every poem I write is a love poem
While Mother slowly dies
Everything I do is an expression of love

Look around—
This place
The way we treat one another
The way we value
Imaginary assets &
Fiscal idolatry
Over bodies
Over trees

Is a maddening disgrace
That shames us all

The modern day Atlantis is in the
Pacific Ocean
It’s made of North American rubbish
It’s not getting any smaller
Toxic algae blooms
Choke the coastal beaches

It is said that by 2050
There will be more
Plastic in the oceans
Than fish

When Her last hummingbird
Fills the air with its final poetry
Will we regret what we’ve swapped?

When the last great whale
Washes ashore
With a belly full of plastic
Will it curse us with its final breath?

So yeah,
This is a love poem
And I am angry
And it’s a gift

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