Dan Namingha, Horizon at Dusk, Acrylic on Canvas, 40"x40" ©2019
Ojai’s on fire and the San Juans are on fire
and the Southern Amazon’s on fire, just like
all visible on a world map with little flame
emojis on my phone, an effort by
a well-meaning NGO to gamify the burning
of our world. Gamify: a strange response
to thousand-year-old villages vaporizing,
the screams of mothers digitized, beamed
to satellites and cell towers, and thoughtful
Starbucksing thumbs noticing between
Instagram posts, holding the burning world
in their hands, gaining points for paying attention.
But threatening and cajoling and celebrating
and guilting are weaker than swiping,
Swipe and burn and swipe and melt and swipe
and terrorize and swipe and huddle in boats
in the Aegean and swipe for the dopamine drip.
In Portland it was 110, the Cascades burning.
I saw a photo of Gifford Pinchot, wondering
what he would think. Forest service planes floated
through the smoke like ghosts of fire seasons past.
On CNN, everything was burning, a cartoon of disaster.
The fire, persistent and lonely, keeps to itself and says:
Here’s a tree that is burning & here’s a house
that is burning, even though water is nearby.
Yes, this dog is also burning, and when
will you wake up and start calling me by your name?