Some things keep rippling through your life
for me the nuclear connection and subsequent strife
I met Oppenheimer at a party, studied physics then
attended one of his seminars, watched him when
he was crucified at his hearing, and I was losing
the clearances that allowed me to play amusing
meson experiments on Berkeley’s cyclotron.
We have been taught to close down
not talk about knowing, good or evil,
a life time not talking about what we do,
about implications; the detail is dull.
Those years keep coming back
even as every one then now dies
few left now to recall the horror,
all it implies of Bomb, and implicate evils.
The victims are shunned,
reminders, no one wants to see
the paranoid selfishness that owns it,
as profits were to be made
of all of it, sold to private ownership,
bombs, fuel, reactors, all
after Oppie was cast aside.
Energy pumped up, affluence veils our vision,
not seeing reactors ageing dangerously
not seeing gasses fouling the atmosphere
polluting drinking water, acidifying the sea,
for two cars in every garage and big TV’s–
no one wants to pay the cost.
Worry rumbles beneath sports bar talk
of football, baseball, hockey, the little violences,
relieving the pressure of dwindling incomes
plundered pensions, water not fit to drink.
Kent Bowker 12/23/12