The Philosophers Leave Florida

for Natasha and Shane

Pick white or black.
It ain’t chess, just a race
to multiply the meanings
of simple words
like “divide” or “unite”.
Everyone knows
polls are for assholes
but whether the truth blows
this way or that
here’s a fact you can take to the bank:
Miami is lower today
than it was yesterday.
Deniers aren’t buying, they’re selling.
It’s a Great American Land Grab,
sawgrass style.
Better offers lie further up
and west, in the mountains of Colorado.
Think of it as a redistribution of wealth
with Florida holding the short end.
Tampa’s still temperate
but when the brain drains up
tepid turns to turpitude
too fast for attitudes to batten down.
The boat rocks for no other damn good reason
than lines lean to a frown
and we stand
because to lie is to sleep—
according to the makeshift reason
we’ve hammered up.
Nietzsche has left the building.
He’ll wander now in divine madness
up in the high desert with Dr. Kant’s monster,
leaving us in an instant exposed
to the mundane insanity
of this sinkhole, passed
from torch to pitchfork to pink flamingo, oh
the irony’s rich. Is there any limit
to the poverty of our complaint?
Or has plastic worked its way
into the sand of all our questions.
Think about that.

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2 Responses to The Philosophers Leave Florida

  1. Brendan says:

    This poetry of environmental disaster and civilized collapse is I think a startling new face of bearing witness in sunny Florida. I did a research on sea level rise impacts last year and the two fastest-growing areas of the country in 2050 are projected to be Central Florida (migration from flooding coastal areas) and Austin Texas (migration from Houston and flooding Louisiana). “It’s a Great American Land Grab, / sawgrass style.” Have you read Timothy Morton’s “Dark Ecology”? He provides an fascinating springboard into a way to think and dream the Anthropocene. Looking forward to more from you on this as the waterlines subsume.

  2. Thanks Brendan. Don’t know the Morton book and I don’t know if I have the stomach to write a lot more specifically about this, although references find their way into lots of my poems. Who knows, now that red tide has hit Pinellas I may be compelled to write some more on this theme.

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