A warning, a movement, a collection borne of protest.
In Watch Your Head, poems, stories, essays, and artwork sound the alarm on the present and future consequences of the climate emergency. Ice caps are melting, wildfires are raging, and species extinction is accelerating. Dire predictions about the climate emergency from scientists, Indigenous land and water defenders, and striking school children have mostly been ignored by the very institutions – government, education, industry, and media – with the power to do something about it.
Writers and artists confront colonization, racism, and the social inequalities that are endemic to the climate crisis. Here the imagination amplifies and humanizes the science. These works are impassioned, desperate, hopeful, healing, transformative, and radical.
This is a call to climate-justice action.
This anthology is not to be missed. The pandemic may have defined our year, but the climate crisis defines our time in geological history. See how this roster of talented writers and artists advance the conversation, put the crisis in context and call for climate justice.
Polished cameo a distilled mirror
steam skimmed skin
of water in the oval cue
The ocean has no perceptible bottom
The detritus of cargo ships strewn,
No one dives
no strolls to retrieve
Don’t rise too quickly back up to the sky
Animal exhalations hold the wreckage
of your heart poured into
a white porcelain sink,
A paint spattered canvas
Still, breathing – oxygenated
There is not enough fresh air.
near, a view, a window
further, distant, the port.
(a churning inland sea,
painted surface of nothingness)
what emerges four-legged
from the shore a figure-ground
illusion of an ancient-creature
still living, distilled
breath, “Dressed Landscape for
Dry Ice Studies.”
The perspective of a band practice
The tarry instruments, tinny, far away
of amplifiers affixed to stilts
Someday the body will remember
A generation of flailing limbs
A Flirtation with Rapture
The Skin of Victorian buildings
floating in the after-birth of
The painting hand thinking
in a network of gestures
of the linked orbital of satellite
layers of the ascension
the numbing epidermal of embodiment
cold metal needle
in the simulacra the metronome
of a shaking hand
the surgeon, hirsute
At the bottom of the painting, hand-written,
The cut ice letters
Here where Holy ghost prophecy carries more weight than science
Freedom senses all the tears
of a thousand windowsills
The rainbow of men and women
shoulder to shoulder
entering hotels and shelters
Rowboat sailors with buttoned oars
rough coughing from lungs
of a sulfur sheen
Of black coal in lieu of flowers
holding the skirt of the lake.
A thousand monarchs
rose up, lifted
both sides of the sky
exposed exploited roe
Inlaid into monoculture rows
A cascade of waterfalls and memories
accompanied the rain all night
Rattling on about the cusp
as it danced
though never unattended
The flood waters rang out
May the lake take you
under to dream
May the sky rise to meet you
when you awaken.
Robert Frede Kenter is a writer and visual artist, who lives with ME/FM, is widely published and exhibited and is a 2020 Pushcart nominee. Work recently in Black Bough, Burning House Press, Cypress, Talking about Strawberries, Floodlight Ed., Anthropocene, Cough. Robert is publisher of Toronto-based Ice Floe Press www.icefloepress.net & author of a recent hybrid collection, Audacity of Form (Ice Floe Press). A chapbook of VISPO, "EDEN", is forthcoming later in 2021. Robert was a feature reader in 2020 at Cheltenham Poetry Festival. Twitter: @frede_kenter
Watch Your Head is an online journal of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
New work is published monthly!
Check out our latest project: a print anthology published by Coach House Books!
Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis
Coach House Books