In this poem, Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli uses poetic language to reflect on the multiple crises humanity faces today, with particular reference to attitudes towards what is “real” and “realistic”.
You are drifting away from what was agreed to be real,
past the luminopolitan paradox of the movies we watched together,
past the blogging we shared with Extinction Rebellion,
the compositional activist fears that pixelated our shared cause;
past the digital designs of shared futures from governance centres
the principle of hope feigning novelty to deliver sameness for all,
past the promise of sustainability that assesses everybody’s ability
on the same standards, in the same disrespectful and intrusive style.
You are pulled into a web of life that is not just yours, your groomed dog’s or spoiled cat’s,
your back orchard’s pesticidal utopia, your beehive’s definition of climatic crisis,
you are pulled into a strange analytical concoction of temporal articulation,
spatial alienation, barely visible to commuters boarding a train with sail panels;
you have exited the claustrophobic underground to take off to the stratosphere,
taking snapshots of space debris, shooting stars and rotating sunrays
anything surviving the daily lunar travel to reach the cottage you had on the lonely planet,
a blue sphere lit by radiation at night and green hues in the mornings.
You are small and insignificant, with a grand conviction that you rule life’s semantic fields,
a hubristic assemblage of barely explored brainmatter, polymathic aspiration,
agential freedom, romantic nursing of the desire to stay on top of the chain:
a starmaker in a polis of planetary light, flickering its way to the long sleep.
Close your eyes and dream, but remember to open them again with anticipation
as you drift to the centre of policies in need of radical change,
not lullabies on the cradle of civilisation, but a loud polyphony of protest
we can be better, we can stay alive, we and our star.
ALTERMODERNITIES – A Traveller’s Notes: Book 3, Searching for Hope
Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli is Associate Professor of Cultural Sociology and member of the Editorial Board of the Northern Notes Blog, School of Sociology & Social Policy at Leeds.