Polar Bears

Polar Bears

Today the polar bear
and tomorrow the SUV.

But until tomorrow, say the Americans,
let us drive,
drive, and

And I see them everywhere:
Whole Foods, driven there to pick up
the recyled-paper toilet tissue
and organic eggs.
The water from people’s springs in Arkansas.
And at the hike and bike trail,
disgorging the lone runner.

On the streets. In the parking lot.
On the interstate up from San Antonio,
three abreast, 80 miles an hour.

They are named after the things
they destroy, whose beauty will be memories
hard to describe fully in words.
The Yukon.
The Sierra.
The Tahoe.
The Tundra.

No car maker calls his SUV
The Melted Glacier.
The Asthmatic Child.
The Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease
The Lung Cancer or
The Heart Attack.

The leather chair waits at the bank drive-through.
The throne rolls high.

Today the SUV.
Tomorrow the polar bear.

George Dubya tells us we’re addicted to oil
His remedy is to seize some,
Then more.
Or scuttle the market, ergo the supply,
and watch prices soar.

So when he tells us the polar bear is threatened,
Worry that he intends to air-condition the bear’s cage.
Maybe in the Alaskan tundra, which is melting,
With electricity from plants burning coal in Texas.

It’ll seem a cheap thrill
At a buck a pop,
To see the last polar bear, in the cage.
But what’s expensive,
then and now,
Is getting there.
And being there.

Meanwhile, poor George,
Poor Richard.
So many dead (and maimed) people,
Every one
dollar in Halliburton’s bank.


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