Welcome to our blog. Its main purpose is to make available the poems of Robert Head. If you would like to publish any of these poems or want to contact the author, please write him at the Bookstore, 104 S Jefferson St., Lewisburg, WV 24901.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Robert Head on the Gulf oil volcano


the endangerd loggerhead turtls are
crawling up on the beach to die
at Pass Christian of my earliest memories.

blood runs out their eyes & 20,000
cars a day drive past my bookstore.
i sit behind sum bushes across the street
upwind of it & i can watch my doorway
& hwen a customer enters i walk

back across 219. i hav plenty of time
to meditate on our demise.

the magnitude of this disaster is hard to imagin
going into the third week now & they still can’t stop it.
it has already reacht Dauphin Iland
hwer Darlene & i spent a week in November

long ago we were the only pepl there at that time of year
& we sat on the beach & the dolphins came up
& danced in front of us. i believe
this is the time of year they cum into

shallow water to hav their babies.
& soon it will be at Panama City beach
hwer my father & i rented a motel.

the birds may survive a hurricane
but not an oil volcano.

there’s 5000' of broken pipe
crumbled around the oil spout
so it’d be hard to lower a bag of
barite into the hole in the pichdark
without it getting tore up

the normal rules of evolution break down during
an oil volcano. the only evidence of
selectivity during extinction has been against
species with limited geographical ranj.

the oil will circl in the gulf & get
in the gulf stream & go up the east
coast to Cape Hatteras & thence eastward.

the carbon in the oil will combine with
oxygen to form carbon dioxide.
the sudden release of methane hydrate is
postulated as one of the causes of

the permian-triassic boundry extinction.
the sudden release of oil has no precedent.
those species endemic to the Gulf of Mexico
will be extincted.

in southern Louisiana, Audubon recorded
the Mississippi kites arrival “about the middl of
April, in small parties of five or six.”

“24 miles of Plaquemines Parish is destroyd.
everything in it is ded.”
a starfish washes ashore on the Chandeleur Ilands.
it is grey.

the bluefin tuna spawn in the Gulf
west of the Dry Tortugas.

my customer said,
they think it’s bigger than they thought it was.
yes indeed. the yellow rose
of the Gulf of Mexico.

Teddy Roosevelt establisht Breton Island
as a wildlife refuge but that was before
the Army Corps of Engineers channeld
the Mississippi River & the iland began sinking.

it’s all oil. you’re never going to get that clean.
the crude oil burns skin & hwen inhaled in
high concentrations can cause central nervous
system damij, depression, convulsions & loss of consciousness.

hwee wee wee wee

tomorrow is memorial day
in memory of the Louisiana delta
& the Mississippi flyway

in memory of Grand Isle
in memory of pompano

in memory of West Indies salad
in memory of the ferry across Mobile Bay

the man from the National Wildlife
Federation said there was a half inch
of oil everyhwer & that nuthin
coud liv in that.

so that talk about cleaning up the oil
is nonsense. there’s no way to
clean up the oil in the Louisiana delta
that is to say the Mississippi flyway.

birds funnel in & out to Alaska
& the east coast of Hudson Bay.
they hav no vois in their death
so it seems to be my job to speak for them.

a lot of good it’ll do.

of the defunct gulf
from my friends near the gulf
i havn’t heard a word. they must be
rendrd speechless. hwat can we say
across the space that is almost impossibl to walk.

my father turns over in his grave
& prays to the water, to a good
stream of water.

i hate to tell him but the he-bass
in the Potomac are carrying eggs.
i will advise him to lay down in his grave
& wait a million years.

i think hwat it’s like there in the gulf
the heat & the oil vapor & can’t go swimming
i’m going to take a bath just thinking about it
to get the sweat off

Plaquemines Parish has been in bed
with the oil companies for eighty-five years.
do you think maybe american grief
will ever end

i used to go crabbing from the seawall
in Pass Christian & this morning i saw
a dead oil-soakt crab.

Edward O. Wilson weeps for the pelicans
& Bruce Phelps wundrs how he is going to make a living
& the coastguard’s incompetence dooms Perdido Bay.

the Creek & the Choctaw did many things
but they never drilld a hole in the Mississippi Canyon.

the oil is already at Oranj Beach Alabama
& is working its way eastward to Appalachicola Bay
hwer 90% of Florida’s oysters liv
& then on to St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge
hwer my father took us to look at the birds

St. Marks was talkt away from the Spanish
by Andrew Jackson hoo told the commandr
that they were on the same side
against the “Indians” & the “free Negroes”

i believe it was about 1830
that the Choctaws signed away their land
east of the Mississippi to the “United States”
either that or a bullet in the head

so mile by mile the united states
extended its sovrinty to the Gulf

it wouldn’t hav been safe walking alone
so perhaps the engineer let him ride
in the mail-car. well, i was wrong.

“I started to cross the State by a gap
hewn for the locomotiv, walking sumtimes
between the rails, stepping from tie to
tie or walking on a strip of sand
at the sides. . .”

the train had never
gotten running after the Federals
seized the two terminals in 1862.

Muir was lucky to be alive

he walkt all the way to the Gulf

Mobile hwen Bartram visited was
a French city. & there were the Choctaw & the Creek
& Bartram walkt alone to look at the flowers
amidst the over-mountain Cherokee.

that would hav been the iland in the sky.
i havn’t been that far but i hav been
as far as Boone. i like to imagin it
the way it was hwen Bartram was there.

his writing enabls us to do that.
it may be said to hav enterd into
the memory of man happier than
the epic death now occurring.

the second larjest extinction in earth’s
history not counting the present
defines the triassic-jurassic boundary
& the rift between west Africa & North

America coincides. it would be also the opening
up of Pangea. perhaps hwen it
opend up & crackt the continental
crust it released methane hydrate

& that might explain the generic extinction.
this rift strata outcrops at the Virginia
Solite Quarry hwer the oldest dinosaur
tracks in eastern north america are found.

the intense late triassic-earliest jurassic
rift, deep enuf for the ocean to cum in,
coincides with the intense extinction of
marine, shelly organisms & amphibians.

they are one & the same it must be
that the rift opend up the gates of hell.

remember the torre canyon that crackt up
on the rocks in the English Channel
that were clearly markt on the chart

well, British Petroleum had charterd the ship
& they said, oh, it’s not our ship, not
our captain, not our crew

well, the oil going toward Cornwall
the English napalmd & they said
it was the most god-awful sight they’d ever seen

& the oil going toward Brittany & Normandy
the French dropt chalk on it
& it settled to the bottom.

before the ship broke in half
they pumpt sum oil into a quarry
on Guernsey & that oil is there to this day

& said to hav the most god-awful
smell known to man hwich smell
is compounded by the tens of thousands
of birds that land in the oil