Cancer Alley

I recently watched a bike tour on YouTube

where the hosts traveled along the Mississippi River

from New Orleans to the Kenner area

once in Kenner

they spoke on an area referred to as ‘cancer alley’

a stretch of land along the Mississippi River

where multiple petrochemical plants operate

it encompasses portions of three different parishes

St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist

the residents of this area are 

predominantly poor and black

since the 1970’s numerous diagnoses 

of cancer and sickness have been reported

hence the moniker ‘cancer alley’

residents in the affected areas have a

16% greater risk at developing cancer

than the surrounding whiter and higher-income

one area in St. John the Baptist Parish

has been recognized by the EPA as having 

the likelihood of getting cancer from 

air pollution over 700 times the national average

it has been labeled a ‘sacrifice zone’

a term taken from the cold-war era

it is disgusting the blatant environmental racism 

occurring in plain site without any repercussion

the earth has thrived for

approximately 4.5 billion years

then enter the Industrial Revolution 

reprehensible damage with no reversal in site

burning of fossil fuels

carbon emissions from car exhausts

methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture 

deforestation and urbanization

also the sickening lack of

compassion for our own people

all point to the actual problem at hand

we as humans 

are the terminal cancer of earth

Eructatious Anomalies

I was talking with my wife one night

while preparing food in the kitchen

my Grandpa that died of cancer

in 1988 came up in conversation

he had a tracheotomy 

but didn’t get one of those 

creepy robotic throat devices 

I recounted to my wife 

that the doctors told him to

drink beer and burp his words to talk

this brought up a memory that my mom

relayed to me years later

a few days before he died

he burped the words ‘good night’

before going to bed

I then proceeded to practice myself

swallowing air and burping words

I burped the phrase ‘I love you’ perfectly

realizing my new found gift

I then said to my wife

“if I ever have to get a tracheotomy,

I could still talk to you fairly well”

she said, “I hope that doesn’t happen”

I said, “I know, I hope I never have to

get a tracheotomy either”

she said, “no…talk”