Watch Your Head
Coach House Books, 2020
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.
Cover design by Ingrid Paulson
...Watch Your Head does not disappoint. It serves as a warning to heed, a reminder to be thought of often, and a well-thought-out piece of art. Throughout the anthology, readers encounter pieces that provoke and insist, demanding attention, consideration, action, and creativity. Essays and stories and images alike bring about questions and statements on Indigenous rights, white privilege, exploitation of land and people, colonial power structures, place, home, language, and imagination.
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.
OTTO E. ECKERT STATION TAUNTS FIRE TO GRANDMOTHER
She rises through
nitrous oxide sunset
greets the Boji Tower,
greets it in persimmon
sky, arrives in the fall
of this late burning sun.
Before her, coiling bolts
of coal cooked air pour forth
into diminishing light,
slip and fade in opaque
whisps. One street over
in a sapling park, several geese
lament the lost Oldsmobile
plant. What song will rise
to greet the final train load
of Powder River Basin earth,
when it arrives to be cooked
up beneath the Eckert Station’s
unfiltered bundle of shareholder
ambition, pleasure, ambivalence.
Landmarks, despite their poison
are missed in the absences before
and behind us, their ends the loss
of measures to our traces left
upon creation. Grandmother rises,
her downward fixed gaze rests
on the steady tumble
of coal-fired smoke
feeding a hundred-thousand air conditioners.
SWALLOWS RUN FRANTIC AT THE WATER'S EDGE
Trace the pathways
of swallows, running
veins atop Waabiishkiigo,
left by minnows,
stalking the same hatch.
Discarded, yellow ash leaves
islands unto themselves
crest and fall on this lake
swollen past temperament
by distant snowfalls,
creation rising to meet creation
Beyond us, northward
our land peters out into
shipping lanes, currents
of sand, algae, driftwood.
Each caress of this lake
refreshes us, slows us
Horizon holds mid-lake
lighthouse, toilet shaped,
blotting out Wheatley beyond.
A lesson that lake freighters,
pleasure boat fishermen,
ignore in due course.
The lake, creation moves
slow. Swallows frantic atop
it, us lazy on this beach,
and the water rises, another
freighter steams past lighthouse
green moves atop high waves.
I come to you as you squeeze
into the cement culvert bisecting
the heart of Springwells treaty land
at fence line you stretch out
to the horizons, beneath lowrise
office buildings, straight as a slash
of a shixikwe bite, still, as moments
after the strike. Know your destination
arrives at an island of fire, constant
grumble of angry earth. Above us
shopping cart rapids slow to glass
top rifle of water, wailing past
weeds, nènèskakw burst skyward
from cracks in constricting shore.
D.A. Lockhart is the author of Devil in the Woods (Brick Books, 2019) and Wenchikaneit Visions (Black Moss, 2019). His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2019, Grain Magazine, the Malahat Review, CV2, and Triquarterly among others. He holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University-Bloomington. Lockhart currently resides in the Souwesto region of Ontario where he splits time between Pelee Island and Waawiiyaatanong in Three-Fires Confederacy Territory. He is the publisher at Urban Farmhouse Press.
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
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