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Syndic Literary Journal

Climate Depression

By Oakland Poet Barbara Rhine

The election
nears as the country
veers toward disaster. Between

Covid and the
id of this awful
precedent for what he
shows us as he
blows our minds.

My stomach contracts.

Trump—the slump of

rump, his Agent Orange skin
pump, the
dump of his mind.

His plan, his twitter
feed, his
scan, his endless
greed, his stupid
need to ruin Bears Ears—the largest
habitat still around.

Panthers still walk
there, can you remember them? One type, now
rare, but common among the
fair mammals who try to stay
alive, even to
thrive in our presence, yet still go
down, with us humans

They plan
roads there, to
load coal there, that black
chip that’s got us at the
lip over which we now
tip, toward disaster. And what about the ones who

Lied for thirty years, while they
fried our planet? Hah!
boil them in
oil perhaps?

I pace the
hard path at the foot of my
yard, but even this
space is
laced with the constant

purr of the freeway as it spews CO2
24/7, good
heavens! Which part of “existential
threat” is it that they just can’t
get? Throughout the

Night, I see that that it’s not going to be all
Right, but we’ve got to be
Strong to keep it from being all
Wrong, and right now we


Quiet as is
kept, each breath is a
step into unknown
space. We humans could

Pace ourselves. Begin to

Restrain, even
Abstain from doing more harm. Learn to

down, and yes even
frown at this stupid
creed of endless
greed that does nothing but
breed disaster. We must

Master our
selves, and

deep, even as we
weep for what we have
lost, just
tossed away while we
fought native peoples to the
grave over what nature
gave. You know what?

It could still sustain us
all as we decide not to
fall, not to
slip, not to
flip, into catastrophe.

Ah, climate
distress, please don’t
depress me into
inaction, to the
satisfaction of those who will
gloat, continue to
bloat while the rest of us
blink, as our habitat


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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