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Global warming vs. Texas

Where belief stumbles is faced

in technocracies of abundant

density holed up in innumerable

brains where it weighs down

lighter elements with ponderous

observations and largely concealed

weapons designed to equalize

any errant discriminations

democracy has failed to render

into products worthy of weekly

attention and extreme acts of attenuated

credit. Tenuous atmospheres

leave vision fixated in singular

messes, lone stars burning brightly

over parched stretches of desiccated

ground where half a billion trees

take a right to the kisser

floors them for the count, the rest

left staggering while Texas, dancing

back and forth over skewed limbs

announces its intention

to execute all remaining evasions

of self-administered lobotomy

procedures to protect and preserve

legitimate archonic aspects

yielding molecular rearrangements

of visionary materials into shop

windows lavishly outfitted

with genuine imitations

of identical jackets or boots

designed to generate real

outbursts of lollapalooza

shit kicking and other enthusiastic

patriotisms. It’s a hell

of a country and no indications

to the contrary can produce

vision beyond super-sized

satisfaction’s gaudy projections

of temperature controlled four hour

erections stabilizing the drive

home. The drive home doesn’t like

global warming either, but it doesn’t

hit it. It does complain

about the weather which Texas

finds subversive. The Alamo

then shows up, confused about its

contextual significance, but always

game for a slugfest with whoever

is around. Remembering it

is not it, and perhaps that’s why

global warming is laid out amid

limbs of all those forgotten

trees. Remembering leads

to sudden ejaculations of manhood

the sticky kind spontaneously

remembering correctly positioned

Last Stands and other tableaus of pumped

up vacuity hungry for a fight

with anything moves with great

affection. After all, oceans do rise

from time to time and need to be slapped

down just to show them who’s boss

around here. Around here quavers at thought

of more feats of engineering prowess

extending into its flows and quietly

leaves through the back door taking

global warming with her

into dank alley’s storied egress.

Michael Boughn’s poem "Global Warming vs. Texas" is characterized by its surreal and metaphorical language, drawing connections between climate change, consumer culture, toxic masculinity, and human responses to environmental challenges.

The poem opens with a critique on climate change denial, toxic masculinity, and consumer culture, referencing the 2011 Texas drought that killed half a billion trees. This highlights Texas's denial of climate change, while linking violence and toxic masculinity to the climate crisis. As well, "Archonic aspects" refers to the Gnostic concept of Archons as guardians of the lower levels of the cosmos where souls of light have been trapped in darkness and are held captive. Bob Marley refers to a similar situation: “By the rivers of Babylon / Where we sat down / and there we wept / when we remembered Zion,” connecting consumer culture to larger cosmological struggles.

At times, the poem ridicules the cultural obsession with male virility through drugs and implants and connects toxic masculinity to sexual release through the myth of male sacrifice in colonial conquest. It humorously questions the idea that engineers can fix any mess humans create and playfully personifies abstract concepts like "the drive home." It introduces unrelated elements like the Alamo, linking it to the patriarchal myth of male sacrifice.

Boughn’s whimsical use of wordplay advances the narrative and creates an atmosphere rife with dark irony, complexity, and tension within these themes. Reminiscent of film noir, it concludes with a sense of departure, suggesting that global warming leaves through the back door, perhaps referencing the grim reality that environmental issues are often ignored and neglected.

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