Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Most of My Sins Are Indirect: a poem

Most of my sins are indirect.
For example, I buy a lot of plastic
because, let’s face it,
most of the stuff you can buy
is either made of plastic,
wrapped in plastic,
or bagged in plastic.

And then, I throw away this plastic
and it ends up in a landfill or the ocean,
which hurts the earth,
home to lots of living things.

And a lot of these plastic things
are manufactured in countries
with crushing poverty
and lax labor laws,
and the lion’s share of my money
goes to the American corporations,
and not the exploited workers.

So every day I sin, indirectly.

Another of my indirect sins
involves the taxes I pay,
which goes to fund things
like education (which is fine),
but it also funds US Navy ships which,
after they are decommissioned,
end up in Alang, India
to be torn apart by workers
at slave wages
and many of these workers die
from the poisonous metals,
or being crushed,
or other horrible-type deaths.
So, that is another indirect sin.

As an American,
it’s really hard, maybe impossible,
to avoid indirect sins such as these.
When you are a citizen
of the most powerful nation on earth,
every day becomes an exercise
in choosing this or that indirect sin,
like walking through a field of land mines,
except when you step on a landline,
you don’t die,
someone else does.

Alang, India

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