Can’t Get the Oil Out of My Wings

Can’t Get the Oil Out of My Wings
by Bob Schildgen

Oil rolling down the arroyos
oil oozing over reservoir dams
oil bubbling up in the foyers and conference rooms
oil leaking up through the petroleum-based carpet
oil sweating from the petroleum-based Walmart floor
(ordinary lonely consumers slipping in oil,
falling and breaking their oil filters and filing lawsuits)
oil dripping across the market research spreadsheets
oil buoying up the daytrader swimming
the oildark sea into oil backing up from storm drains
oil congealing inside Sport Utility Vehicles
and trapping entire families
can’t get the oil out of my wings
oil, warm oil surging up in the toilet at the speculator’s office
and lapping at the stockbroker scrotum,
lubricating modern para-economic membranes.
Oil in mudpie puddles and kindergarten cubbies
oil in the life-support transparent tubing
oil in Galicia and Galápagos
oil in the very feathers of Darwin’s informative finches
oil dangling in black threads from their beaks
can’t get the oil out of my wings
oil rising up in a wind-driven
earthquake-shuddering tsunami smearing coastal cliffs
oil cuddling the kids in the surgical ward
oil drips from the wounds of insurgents
and even from the breast implants and hair
and organ transplants of oil czars and czarinas
can’t get the oil out of my wings
oil oozes out the remote tuner
that slips from your hand and you can’t get the oil off
you rub and rub your hands out out damp spot
but oil gushes from your crotch
and oil puddles in your sacral dimples
your armpits and adenoids and clefts and cleavages
and you run naked to the shower to wash off the oil
and it sticks and you rub but it thickens
and oil curdles at the shower nozzle—
it’s talking now, babbling, hotter and hotter
we’re all Ophelia floating in oil
can’t get the oil out of my wings
the oil is in flames, your cat is igniting
your television looks at you pleading,
crying for help before it implodes
can’t get the oil out of my wings.

Can’t Get the Oil Out of my Wings – Bob Schildgen

Bob Schildgen is known to a million readers of the Sierra Club’s magazine Sierra as the environmental advice columnist and blogger “Mr. Green.”  A collection of his columns, Hey Mr. Green, was published in 2008 by Sierra Club Books. His poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Peace or Perish: A Crisis Anthology, Stoney Lonesome, and other publications, while his prose has found a home in venues ranging from the alternative press’s Berkeley Barb and Pacific Sun to mainstream newspapers and magazines such as the San Francisco Chronicle and California. A native of Wisconsin’s west coast in the Driftless Zone on the Upper Mississippi, he is a longtime resident of Berkeley, California, where he “intensively gardens and pontificates.”

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