We eat our bagel and cream cheese

Tsunami

In Honor of the Third Anniversary of the monstrous tsunami that hit Fukushima Prefecture in Japan on March 11, 2011, I am re-posting this poem, which I wrote as soon as I heard the news. The tsunami leaves a lasting legacy of loss and radioactive pollution from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that was crippled by the enormous wave. This was my very first post on WriteWireless. Heartfelt love and prayers of comfort go out to all of the people affected by this catastophe.
 

We eat our bagel and cream cheese

We eat our bagel and cream cheese, thinking mildly…

From above, it looks like a Godzilla movie–the tidal wave filmed in miniature, the

…about carbs and fat intake…

cars being swept along under overpasses,

…and sip our freshly brewed coffee…

boats crashing into city bridges,

…wondering what we’ll write about today…

cars parked in lots swept along, buoyant like mini marshmallows in hot chocolate or like drowning ants

….or whom we can network with…

huge mases of splintered buildings, cars, people;

… What time is our interview?…

a burning oil refinery.

… What picture should we post on LinkedIn?…

It isn’t until the next day

… Should we look business-like or should we be casual?…

that the close-ups on You Tube are available

“What time should we work out today?…

and we see the huge buildings and cargo ships floating down the street

… Oh my God!…

and coming to rest with the cars and uprooted houses in heaps against the few structures that have stood their ground.

That night, we watch the nuclear plants begin to break down and release their poison into the air, land, and sea. The videos on Yahoo show clip after clip of people walking, dazed, past a car on top of a house, a huge ship standing up on land, nose poised over the water. Street after street of soggy rubble, not a house standing. Hiroshima and Nagasaki come to mind. The devastation is similar, especially on a human level.

On day 3, we see stacks of photos online: the land is reduced to a splintered wasteland. Brothers and sisters, lost, bereft, sift through mud to find a connection to a life so newly and brutally ripped from them. A grandmother finds a pillow, a mother finds a photograph, a boy finds a soiled school award. A grandfather wanders the wet ruins of his ancestral neighborhood. A father weeps, the reality of the catastrophe dawning on him. How many of his relatives were among the 10,000-plus who perished? Will he ever have dinner with his family again?

A hand pokes out of the rubble, motionlessly grasping for something that is gone.

Nobody in Hollywood or Toho wrote this script.

How can we ever know what it feels like?

The Water Doesn’t Know

Fishermen
I wrote this poem on March 11,  2011, the day of the terrible tsunami in Japan that damaged the Daichi nuclear facility in Fukushima. Despite what we are not hearing in the media, the plant is now spewing out much more deadly radiation into the Pacific Ocean than at the time of the accident. We are all connected by the oceans. This is a global disaster, and a legacy that we are all living right now.
 

The water doesn’t know

why it has been beckoned to swell and rise,

rear up high and crash, carrying destruction in its surge,

destitution in its wake.

The uranium atoms don’t know

why they have been pressured unbearably

to split and heat and vaporize the water,

yet they split; they have no choice.

The people don’t know

why the magma of the earth sighs, groans, and shakes as if in troubled sleep

to beckon and push

the water.

Nor do the people know,

in their newfound respect for the magma and the water,

why they were once so sure that they did know

how to tame an atom

that they made wild.

The people on the other side of the ocean don’t know

that the atoms, bleeding radiation, are even now crossing the water

to visit their shores, their rivers, their drinking glasses.

Do they?

“ The World Health Organization stated that a 2013 thyroid ultrasound screening programme … found that more than a third (36%) of children in the [Fukushima] Prefecture have abnormal growths in their thyroid glands …”
(Wikipedia: Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster)

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Highly Radioactive Water Inside and Outside Fukushima Nuclear Reactor No 3
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