“this is gonna be outright war in the next election”

by Melanie Dennis Unrau

#robford i heard
your disasters played big
a heavy-oil spill no world-class
cleanup strategy a toxic trainwreck
i feel sorry for you

the man on the radio from Lac-Mégantic
wishes for snow to cover an open wound
earth black with oil and charred
so the gawkers will stop driving in from out of town

i feel for
thousands of protesting Torontonians
found their mayor’s
a lying-pompous-hypocrite asshole
what’s become of their city

less than a hundred in Winnipeg
rally to defend our climate
ask about our country
lift signs No Oil By Rail to Churchill
Leave It in the Ground
Stop Harper

the women feel the sharp edge of
your rage Alanna the not-prostitute
for Olivia the “graphic” p-word
also for your wife Renata who mere
hours later stands
beside you at a press conference
i’m doing this from memory
so much i hate to know about you

have you seen the photo of the two premiers
on a stroll coffee-cup
logos turned away from the cameras
Alison Redford tosses her hair
belly laughs
Christy Clark grins
they’re laughing with you
didn’t even make the hourly news
the nation slunk closer to Harper’s
dream a bitumen empire
the government carried on its research
how do you clean oil from the ocean floor
Enbridge CEO Al Monaco toasted your good
but not too good health

i write to CBC tell them you should be local news
get your addict spectacle off my radio stream
you don’t deserve the Daily Show
SNL autographed bobbleheads
stop #robford
i want to hear
what’s not on the air

in spring i stood outside
Gretna Enbridge pumping station
our huddle of mourners
burlap-ashed in a ditch
for six pipelines running beneath
what you can’t see
what flows below farmers’ fields

you show little remorse slow to learn
no story is ever one hundred percent lies
so you hold another press conference
maybe have another drink
and in this sense i’m like you
still guzzling gas to the public pool
grocery store still i turn up
the heat lest the children
throw off their blankets
wake in the night with cold toes
i make my sweet home on Treaty One land
where we’re not racist or classist or homophobic
only privileged in all the most potent ways

using while anti-drug campaigning i blame
our cold climate
busy schedule
my practical husband

shut up just a few days let me
think it through
find what it is i can give up
in good faith for Harper
to stoppit
how we Canadians could be world-class
year-round cyclists and riders of public transit
be defenders of nature
mad enough to do something

it’s not your fault
you are only the latest distraction
still #robford shush
i’m trying to listen

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