Extraction Poem #3

Upon a multicoloured band-aid
that is a like a magic carpet, we claim
the wound below is just an inferior landscape.


Still, in daily life, miners disappear into it.


There are an endless series of examples of failures to be wombs:


There is the anomaly of Plato’s cave
newly buttressed states of callousedness
and your teenage room where your apathy fed vicariously
on posters of music stars. You were a relative foetus.


If you were to bury your head in any real holes
and you were not a miner, it seems that hiding is not just
ostrich conformity, but is it a time for personal exploration?


There is a metallic mosquito that the military will mitigate
as a spy plane. It sees an implicit Braille and understatement
on the earth below. It’s blurry at times, as if we were cruising up
progress road to get to that illusory suburban utopia:


How the guerrilla battle with nature appears on the ground. . .


Yet, if there is nothing beyond material nature, to take
fossil fuels is like taking the soul, as if an old concept
that links us to time so beyond ourselves:
a magic trick of the things we do with smoke. . .


The mystic comes through its curtains seeking
a wishing well. . . Something etymological was to happen
there, like a benediction.


Yet, a vagueness sent smoke like exhausted poltergeist
soldiers. . . Instead, there is a place of extraction like Richard
the Third’s shadow if he were to work in the corporate world
and its towers were to have their by-product
of such glitter of winking windows.


Propaganda’s sponge brain might absorb
a “natural green” as if the metallic mosquito
were able to test by prodding parts of the brain.
And it would seem we could blame nature
and that the itch is what would explain
our treatment of these eradicated plains:


How distantly to say: scientific
curiosity scratches the surfaces. . .


Monuments of themselves: un-honoured places,
abandoned, these extraction sites. —Narratives of sci-fi
suggest of our space ship leaving the planet (in a passive
construction) that it seemed as if we were throwing
it away, avoiding our blames. A garbage of itself

is all these ‘monuments’ are,


But consequence, you will find history and

history knows this cannot be an age of naivety:

propaganda so diverse it accumulates hugely,

in this simulacra world: but may we bury

nihilism in a once oil-drowned ceremony of innocence?


Kristian Enright is a poet living in Winnipeg where he is also an educator, editor, emcee, and scholar.

Questions and Answers

1. As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

There is a great deal I could say, but I will paraphrase what my father told me, and that was to have faith in your passion to write and that if you stay committed, there is a book in you! Have faith in the process as well, as you do not need to begin with absolute profound genius, but just some hopeful scribbles. Find the desire to connect to the world when you are ready, but in the meantime excavate your thoughts and pay attention to yourself as you grow as an expanding consciousness that can also lean back into a critic’s position and see how the world comes together distantly. Know that so much lies ahead of you and that is a cause for celebration, but do not forget the preciousness of meditation, and that the teeming you feel of your life will one day be a long poem exploring memoir.

2. What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

I find it important to write about difficult themes and to do so in challenging ways, and I was able to draw on some (however conscious or unconscious) past thinking about the subject of the Anthropocene, which subsumes a great deal, including of course, extraction, that I had not focused on that much prior. As someone who finds himself imagining to excess, the terrible reality of the climate crisis sets up a possible dialectic where sense can be made in ways that give me a better sense of equilibrium than I would have if I were fully avoiding it, while still knowing it in the back of my mind. Speaking of mind, the, at times, lost art of comparison is something that expands when it deals with something of great intensity, and that may have been what inspired me in another way.

This poem “Extraction Poem #3” originally appeared in Poetics and Extraction Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 251 (2022): 121-122.

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