My mind is haunted by ghost pines
and each time, as a child,
we climbed trees and skinned knees
for backyard battle scars.
In this, our city of bridges
and ridges of rocks and snow,
and oh no, no one would question
our greatest intentions -
Where each man was in the oilsands
and whose blood was on our hands
we didn't know and we didn't understand.
Every plan, from Japan's nuclear facilities
to pushing Canadian oil capabilities was
an exercise in telling lies or silencing the cries
of the outspoken until their souls were broken
or their words were choked on.
So we the people,
hands clasped together,
drowning in seas of feathers,
measured success in oil slick drips
reflecting the flickering lights
from our Northern Lights.
I remember too,
when grass unfurled
towards toes curled
over river's edge, with no hints
of the consuming dread that inevitably
crept in before those expecting it
had leaped in with their solutions to
pollution and institutional crises.
That time spent picking wildflowers
for hours was bliss -
the sunshine kissed earlobes golden...
I hold on to these thoughts
I forgot should be cherished.
Times before the world perished
into nothing but ashes and poison gases,
under flashes of fire.
Those they'd called liars shielded eyelids
but couldn't help but admire
spirals of smoke and each broken elm or oak.
No more stroking the egos of CEOs
whose debts and threats were not addressed
until their necks were on the line -
they said it's fine to mine
for coal we've stolen from the earth -
each power plant a hearth that warmed us all.
Still now, a persistent humming of oil drumming
in ghost towns where no sound was louder
than the silence of their fallen giants.
Not one of them imagined 'Energy Capital'
littered with shrapnel, as it is now, but if they had?
Would they still hesitate making energy solar
or turn blind eyes to each drowning polar bear,
resist the faults they knew were there?
What scare tactics could halt semantics
and force scientific theory into practice?
Because they can't say that they hadn't known,
they were shown the signs, and the lines they'd crossed
after tossing trash into oceans or passing motions to drill
and subsequently kill our world we heard was worth saving,
all in the pursuit of the oil they were craving.
Remaining calm as palm trees fell and wells ran dry under skies
of smog, the fog of war carried forward
toward the future we sure wanted.
How could they tell us that was better?
With Calgary wetter, Texans in sweaters.
Our absent ice a crisis we could deal with later,
our techno need greater than feeding growing
populations facing starvation in nations impatient
with waiting for us to get our act together.
With everything done I hold no anger,
these pangs in my heart have started to subside,
and while I may mourn those that have died,
I feel inside not unrest -
While I can not see the forest
for the trees have been cut down,
each ghost town or coast now is
host to the most opportunity
that they've ever seen.