When dictators who rule over transnational corporations
finally choose to do no harm to other people or species,
it’ll be an ice-cold season in hell as billionaires shout
at their servants to hand them their loaded assault rifles.
When they dictate their fresh plans for the triple bottom line,
will they explain to the crowd how they managed to run
their misinformation campaigns aimed at creating enough
doubt about climate disruption to block collective actions?
The dictators were hired to control takeovers and fabrications,
to camouflage needed information, and to deal with others
like them, single-minded money-mongers who’ll say anything
to maximize the bottom line, who seek positions of advantage
for putting one over on somebody else, to enrich themselves
before others, to give executives bonuses before investing,
to keep politicians beholden, harnessing them with blackmail,
to straight-out lie to congressional investigation committees
and position middle managers where they’ll do the dirty work
of cutting costs, compromising the local air and watershed,
and externalizing every possible cost for others to pick up.
When they finally decide they should cause no harm to others,
it will mean their view of world has been radically enlarged
to allow for presence of others and importance of ecosystems.
From the moment this is announced, immense relief will pass
from person to person, as we once again can picture a future.
James Grabill’s work appears in Caliban, Harvard Review, Terrain, Mobius, Shenandoah, Seattle Review, Stand, and many others. Books – Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994), An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), Lynx House Press. Environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Books One (2014), Two (2015), Wordcraft of Oregon. For many years, he taught all kinds of writing as well as “systems thinking” and global issues relative to sustainability.