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Plastic Evolution by Benjamin Weinberg
 

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  • It’s just a cup.

    A friggin’ coffee cup.

    Broken, taken by the wind.

    Gone already.

    Whattya expect?

    I should carry it around all day?

    I should go back and pick up every piece.

    What’s one cup? Out here?

    You know what they say?

    Lord, the ocean is so vast and my boat so small,

    some shit like that.

    But line them up,

    the coffee cups,

    drink-one-and-toss-it cups.

    Line them up end to end,

    around the world and around the world

    four hundred and twenty six times more,

    and that’s just us. This year.

    One Styrofoam nation, gladly wrapped,

    available 24-7 in handy six-packs

    for your convenience. What else matters after all?

    Out here, in the weather, beat by sun and wind.

    A year, hell a month, a week

    It’ll be so small you’ll never know.

    Some say the pieces will last fifty years, some say a hundred, others a hundred-million.

    Never mind the bottles, bags and broken toys.

    Micro scrubbing particles,

    six-pack rings and fishing twine:

    All the ware and wrap of modern life

    come home to roost.

    Who wound you up?

    Micro beads, cups.

    Man, don’t sweat the small stuff.

    Small stuff?

    Think of cliffs a thousand feet high made up,

    grain by grain, of the skeletons of algae.

    Then think of the cast-off particles of our life drifting and falling,

    collecting along the shores,

    in the depths,

    along all the last remaining wild margins.

    Snaring the unwary along the way, luring others to eat their fill.

    Our care-free, happy meal debris, fatally indigestible

    Think of how, grain by grain,

    we are building a testament of monumental proportions,

    landscape art on a new scale, of a new order of magnitude.

    One day it will emerge;

    basin, range, and plateau of an alien landscape.

    built of plastics every one.

    There you go again.

    Hie away with your ponytail.

    Ah hell, look at the mess we got here.

    Liner from a salt bag or something bunging up our trap

    and you’re worried about my coffee cup.

    Photograph used with permission of the artist, Chris Jordan. Please visit his website to learn more

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