After the apocalypse, excess
will no longer trouble the survivors.
They will wander blasted, poisoned lands
scavenging bereft for morsels of bird or bug.

Since the end of the world isn’t here just yet,
we have Kristie Alley and Chris Christie
to contend with. We are a proud race.
From buffet to brunch, fat Americans
gorge. See them haul about in handicap carts
down the cluttered aisles of Walmart.
See them waddle into IHOP and Golden Corral.

But it’s a New Year, hallelujah,
time for rebirth and transformation!
No more pecan pie and cheesecake. Hell no.
Hostesses and caterers, tether that glutton.
Track his sly maneuvers at the soiree;
Watch those dollops glops gulps and gobbles.
Punchbowl sticky, his velveteen tux;
lime sorbet feathers his trim goatee.

New dawn. Breaking wind, I wobble to the scales,
humble penitent to an angry idol.
16,000 children will die of hunger today.
Five million children a year.
One billion hungry people.
What of the fruited plains,
wheatfields and orchards,
biofuel landscapes enchanted with soy?

Hollow-eyed Darfur waif with a M4 wanders unplowed fields.
Stolen relief supplies rotting in warlord caches.
Drought or flood, disease or war starves the multitude.
They say inequality is causal, they say the
distribution channels are broken. They say the
banks and corporations trample the powerless.

The wind in the blood is louder now;
Protestors dressed as frankenvegetables
shouting “Hey hey ho ho leave our DNA alone!”
Monsanto cannot save us. Permaculture
not nanotechnology will deliver us.

With smug devotion I jawbone
lentils and sprouts with the enlightened
at The Fresh Market, carefully selecting
bio-diverse, astoundingly overpriced
harvests of the organic realm.
The halo effect is immense, radiant.
I am saving the planet. I reuse the towels in
my indigenous hotel room. I am saving the planet.
This artisan goat cheese free-range cheeseburger
costs a week’s pay in Haitian sugar cane fields.
I’ve smashed my mellow incandescents, how
I will mourn their warm golden light, but, but
I am saving the planet.

You are the change.
Excelsior! Think of the possibilities!
I resolve to make my aura shine twice-bright.
I pledge to confront urban decay without
compassion fatigue nor prejudice.

I promise to surrender my weapons–
beloved gamma switchblade, and, my glistening selenium arrows.
I vow to pay my fair
share thus imperiously surrendering
everything I own to the cause.

If I do these things, then gifts of levitation, prophecy,
and invites to celebrity fundraisers will be mine.
Will I stop polar icecaps from melting
and end war as we know it? Will I fix Palestine
and make peace with the mullahs?
My reverent legacy. Yes.

Now. The first step for these things
to manifest in good time is to pretend,
with a chimera of Cartesian meditation, that
this pecan pie does not exist, nor does
beckoning triple chocolate cheesecake. Just pretend. That.
I will go hungry today. I will go naked and wear no fur.
To live small and die holy,
a leave-no-trace footprint of dust.
I am saving the planet.

~ Craig Shaffer


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