poMotion poetry

At least 20 gallons per second

with 4 comments

Kaia Sand, who has been featured on PoMo before, read one of the more powerful pieces of poetry I’ve ever heard read aloud this week.

Like many around the world, I have been on the edge of my seat watching the latest developments on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sand’s reading of her poem, “at least 20 gallons per second,” made the entire crowd stop, and pause for a reflective moment on something that is completely out of our collective control, at least for the time being. Her rendition of the poem gave me goosebumps and literally, made me sick to my stomach.

at least 20 gallons per second

In the time it takes me to say this, at least 160 gallons of oil will have gushed out of the Deepwater Horizon site.And now 200.
And now 240.
And now 280.
And now 320 gallons of oil.
In the time since this poem began, gushing out of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil drilling site, I count 600 gallons of oil mixing into the Gulf of Mexico saltwater.
And now 640.
And now 680
And now 720
And now 760
And now 800 gallons

In the time since this poem began, rushing beyond the failed concrete seal poured by Halliburton, I count at least 1000 gallons of oil

By this time tomorrow, at least 1.7 million more gallons of oil will have leaked in to the Gulf of Mexico seawater.

This as we gather in a park in a city near the Pacific, far from Gulf Coast, and near it, too. This, as I go on, burning oil BP drills for me each day, despite myself, oiled ease. This, as each second, more than 20 gallons of oil defy barriers and become the difficult ecology of now.

Sand read the poem along with several esteemed published poets and authors, including Lawson Inada an emeritus Oregon Poet Laureate and professor of writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

The reading titled Poetic Excursions was the kick-off to a summer long project called “Writing Places,” a series of one-day writing “excursions” in changing locations, led by local writers, including Sand, David Abel, Joesph Bradshaw and the newly transplanted poet Alison Cobb. (Cobb’s reading also rocked.)

The night turned out to have another exciting development when two individuals, Inada a Japanese American who was held captive in internment camps for the duration of World War II, and Leo Rhodes, a Pima Indian raised on a reservation where an internment camp was stationed were brought together for the first time and read poetry about the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona.  You can read more about this very cool story over at the Street Roots blog.

To get involved with “Writing Places,” the one-day writing excursions this summer download the information here: POETRYCLASSES.

Posted by Israel Bayer


Written by lickmypoetry

June 5, 2010 at 10:35 am

4 Responses

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  1. These numbers are hard to imagine…let alone the number of deaths that will be cause by this man-made and avoidable disaster…thanks for posting this peom.


    June 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm

  2. Great poem. This whole thing is unimaginable. But then if it had been imagined it might never have happened.

    Michele Spector

    June 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm

  3. I had the good fortune to be there, and Kaia’s reading was definitely discomforting, as it should be.

    Jessica Bucciarelli

    June 9, 2010 at 6:57 am

  4. […] These numbers, then, are not an exaggeration; you can actually assume much higher numbers. This poem reported much higher numbers (20 gallons per second) a few weeks ago when none of the oil was […]

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