Editor’s Note: As some of you may know, the TLA Network offers a Certification program. Chronicling TLA practice is a part of that process, which can be fulfilled by writing multiple pieces for the blog. This is the fourth post from Laurie Pollack, a poet and artist currently pursuing certification. You can find her earlier posts here.
Until 2013, I had never written or read a performance piece. I had read poetry frequently at the peace vigils of Brandywine Peace Community, a local Philadelphia area antiwar group. In fact, Bob Smith — the leader of the group — looked on me as sort of his “go to” poet. Once, at a Hiroshima event, he asked me to read “your Sadako poem”. (For Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who died of leukemia from the after effects of the Bomb). It happened that at the time he asked I didn’t HAVE a Sadako poem. But by the time of the rally, I DID.
But I had never done a performance piece. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy brushed my area lightly but did not greatly affect it. Still, it was a wake up call for me to start thinking about the environment more. I started to use cloth grocery bags, and hang my clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer and a few other small changes. I also started to imagine how Mother Earth would feel if she were to talk to her children (that’s us). What would a mother say? When I wrote this poem, it was as if I were invoking Mother Earth: as if she were dictating the poem to me! A very intense experience.
When I was asked to read a poem at a peace event after that, I decided to perform “Eviction Notice,” and included props such as the Pepsi bottle and other trash.
I enjoyed doing this. It was more like acting, and more fun than just reading a poem.
Since then, my poetry has been more intuitive: more from the heart as I try to listen to what my spirit wants to say.
At the time I wrote this, I had Mother Earth telling the kids that unless they cleaned up their act, they were out of there. But I changed it in this revised version to say their time was up. I guess I feel a little more uneasy now about climate change. But I still hope we can wake up and listen to her words before it is too late!
by Laurie Pollack (as Mother Earth)
Are you listening?
I don’t think you are!
Because you never clean your rooms:
I was walking in my forest yesterday and do you know
What I found? This Pepsi can!
And here’s what I found in my ocean the other day:
A filthy, yucky plastic bag!
Not only that.
You left the heat on full blast the other day
And when I got home the icebergs were all melted.
You crowd the whole house
with your STUFF. Your Junk.
And my other kids have nowhere to go.
My sea turtles! My birds! My bears! My wolves!
The water is all dirty. It stinks.
And you don’t clean it up.
You live here rent free.
Eating my food.
Drinking my water.
Breathing my air.
Not doing your chores.
Not getting a job.
I have had it with you kids!
You are old enough to know better.
I am MAD.
And don’t assume you can get away with it.
I’m not Mama. I’m not Mommy anymore.
I’m MOTHER EARTH.
And when I get mad I can throw
A tsunami, an earthquake, or a hurricane.
And I will.
I have warned you before.
But you didn’t listen.
So now it’s time and
You have to get out of my planet
And find another place to live
Because remember that I brought you into the world
And I can take you out of it!
No more apple pie, kids!