From the Editors: How Can I Look Up

for Michael J DeLuca

 

How can I write you this letter

 

through thick smoke the sun

a red dot in the sky

I should not be able to stare into

 

How can I make an appointment

with the car dealer

while mother Tahlequah takes

her tour of duty      displaying for us

hairless monkeys what the rest

of the natural world already knows

 

How can I take a shower

when thousands of people have poison

                              to drink

How can I look out the window at the moon

stroke my cat’s chin

                    make my bed

How can I admire the late blue background

and mountain silhouette on the ferry heading home

 

How can I take a seat on a bus

hurtling toward a city of dog-walkers     businessmen

and concerned shrugs of passers-by

it’s terrible this smoke it’s all terrible

I know          it’s really terrible      I know      I know

 

How can I bring the sleeping children home

after a long day of amusement park

fried foot-long corndogs

How can I look up my visa bill when

our relationship with the earth

is toxic

stored now in blubber

of whales that send us warnings

and raw grief

a suffocation of sound and light

in the realm of the dead

 

How can I make plans with a friend

     buy groceries          drink tea

while we are plunging toward an inevitable

tipping point

no return

extinguishing what has been

like a comet

or a cancer

or a chapter of some future history book

 

when we alter landscapes          lose habitat

when the world shrinks

gets hotter     tighter    angrier

goes hungry

 

How can I search for a lost coat

my favourite          when

we are losing                    every day

pieces of our humanity

of green

of corals and bees

and owls and streams

 

How do I rekindle passion’s poetry without falling into despair

feeling holding me there

when I exist in coffee pots          lists          renovations of the old

dish-washing          laundry          finally unpacking all my books—

finding homes for paperwork and tools

getting on them weeds in the garden out of control

testing recipes

collecting that fruit before it rots on the trees

 

How do I do the deep work

maintain connection to that slightly

MAD state

and go about my day                    lost as I long to be

 

How can I sit in an alley playing drums with a Turkish immigrant

How can I breathe smoke on the shoreline while

using my cell phone as a hot spot to

send an email about a postcard for a

talk about climate change

 

How can I sleep?

 

How can I ask a friend how I can do these things when

he says

How can we anything

 

My heart breaks because other hearts do not

my heart breaks and I go on making plans

scheduling dates

daydreaming about getting laid

calling out to alley cats

          to birds overhead

          to the leaves in the trees

 

How can I dress myself for success

add accessories

buy lemon tarts

browse antique stores

try on possible new shoes

 

my generation acquiesces to the inevitable

while millennials dream of Super Heroes

bursting through the screen

 

Somebody

do

something

do

something

I want to scream

Let go of every device in your hands

and look up                    are we going to lose

the sky          on our way to losing the sea

 

How can I leave space                    for us

to breathe

 

How can I

unbury your ears

shape a new kind of listening

to what is under our feet          and floating

still-born          (yet still hoping)

all around us                    stating the obvious

 

How can we anything          he asks while

chopping onions and peppers

to feed his young family

in the midst of idling engines

cooked rivers

air-conditioned ignorance

and addiction to machines

Introducing Sakara Remmu, Guest Editor for Reckoning 3

Sakara Remmu is a storyteller, journalist, anti-oppression activist and advocate living in the greater Seattle area. Sakara was first published in 2001 after witnessing a police shooting; she began producing social commentary for local and national print and radio news in 2007.

Of First Nation and African descent, Sakara was born in Torrance, California to a biological mother who would give her up a year later. She was adopted by an interracial couple with two children of their own when she was 3 years old. Childhood was an experience of contrasts growing up in a conservative, quiet suburban city.

“On the one hand we had structure and rules; my older brothers and I went to private school and church every Sunday. Chores had to be done on time, that sort of thing. On the other hand, our parents weren’t necessarily conservative people. They were professionals, but they also had adventure and imagination, and a bit of whimsy.

“We were always outside. Rain or shine, snow or ice, what I remember and love the most when I look back is that we were always outside. Nature was, pardon the expression, second nature. My parents had a huge garden when we were growing up. Understanding food, where it comes from, the dirt it’s grown in—we weren’t really aware of what they were teaching us about the planet or biology, but it’s in our marrow now. My dad grew up traveling and exploring Washington, Oregon and parts of Canada. He introduced his kids to all the places he loved, whether we wanted to go or not. Now we all have kids of our own and we’ve carried on the tradition of dragging them outside and forcing them up a mountain, or into a tent for a week in the middle of nowhere, with no internet access. It’s pretty great.

“It’s also sobering. I’ve lived here long enough that I can actually see the impacts of environmental change and global warming. I can remember what snowfall was like thirty years ago compared to now, and rain and drought trends and heatwaves. It’s confronting, and as a parent it’s sometimes horrifying and overwhelming, especially because my kids are old enough that they see it too. But we still hike.”

Sakara joins Reckoning Press as the guest editor of Reckoning 3, working alongside founding editor and publisher Michael J. DeLuca to broaden the range and diversity of content and stories with her unique personal lens and editorial experience.

For more on Sakara, check out Under the Redline, her miniseries podcast focusing on the lives of those in marginalized communities in and around Seattle, or find her on twitter @BOMBMediaCo.