Oct 5 2010 10:01 am

carbon and god's love

Frank was pretty pissed about the Marcellus shale.  It was just down there, holding all that natural gas like a sponge, tempting everyone to try everything to get it out, because cubic feet of carbon valued more than gold at weight.  Despite the fact that gold is mostly made of carbon, at least that’s what Frank’s middle school “science” teacher told him, carbon and god’s love.  Frank’s middle school “science” teacher also told him to pull down his pants in the janitor’s closet once, so there’s that.

My book is the ovary, the pages I lust to turn, my pen’s the penis, when I write the ink’s the sperm.

Frank got pretty depressed for a while after he heard about the risks associated with the extraction of natural gas from said rocks in Pennsylvania through some sort of hydraulic fracturing process.  It wasn’t so much the shit show of ArtPrize, it was dead brook trout, more dirt roads, and fewer trees on the already patchy Allegheny Plateau.  Frank felt a particular sympathy for Pennsylvania.  He had visited once and was struck by how similar it was to Michigan, only older, and age trumps beauty and bounty every time, particularly when your bounty’s been overharvested, when you don’t rotate your crops, when you don’t rest your pool.     

But what are brook trout next to poor children?  What are islands of wilderness next to crumbling infrastructure?  The people of this corner of Appalachia need jobs and they are more than willing to do the shit work for a tiny piece of the one trillion.  Sure, the folks that own the drilling leases will keep the lion’s share, but they are the lions after all, what with their lawyers and smooth talkers and their actual fur and mane.     

And so these people will take the jobs and work them until the gas is gone.  How many more twenty or thirty year booms will suck the land dry and plunge the region into yet deeper poverty?  Timber, oil, coal, steel, Williamsport, Bradford, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.  Is this the right way to live?  Do we need small towns hollowed out of youth and the middle aged?  The elderly hanging on to crumbling family homes and the glory of the post war years?  The few young people left addicted to meth, knocked up at fifteen, plundering unlocked neighborhoods for cheap jewelry and social security checks?  Is there a right way?  Is there any way? 

My book is the shriveled ovary, the pages I try not to turn, my pen’s the flaccid penis, when I write I’m out of sperm.

Frank thought about this.  There are too many people, too much demand.  So he thought about the public water supply and he thought about poison.

This made Frank excited, like when he thought about Rihanna in a spandex body suit.  He’s pretty sure she’s an alien. 


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