Creative Submission: ‘(L)ignite’ by Kate MacAlister

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Featured Illustration: Georgia Harmey
Design: Kate King

A bucket wheel excavator in the 240,000 class alone consumes an average of 200,000 kW a day – electricity enough for a small town with 17,000 inhabitants.

i walked slowly towards
the edge of the world
eyes front, a single black flag
courageously torn
i hold tight to

all these abandoned cities
all these forests fallen and fled
all the rivers poisoned and thin
inside of me

it is hard to keep the score of everything lost
in this economy
it is hard to conserve some energy
for the crises
This is where home lies.

except it doesn’t
not even a ghost
town to bear
witness to skeleton houses

haunted with riches
excavated like
the bones of
ancient creatures

why can’t we stop visiting these graves?

the metallic growl carried on the wind
dust to dust.
we live and die with the ashes
flowing on every breath

talk me off the ledge but
i won’t ever get myself to wipe off
the soot on my boots
i want to walk past the picket fences
with proof
of this wound
always with me
for all to see
look, this is where it hurts.

how dare we just stand here
at the break off edge of the sleeping soil
with nothing but stolen dreams
and empty promises
when the house has already burnt down?

what do we want?
what did we want
when we were given it all?
what do we want?
the prayer is left unfinished.

an antidote
to the generational curse of
wake work die

in each others arms
in tearing down the walls
in building the barricade higher
than the profit margin

let me feel the songs of the dying earth
in the palm of your hand
in each beat of every heart breaking
where the ground has been
made unholy

this is where we all bleed
this is where it hurts
this is where it ends

this is where they bury us
this is where we cover them
in the flowers of disobedience
this is where resistance blossoms
a fireweed set ablaze

it is never civil. it’s
new blood and no regrets
hope is untameable and wild
it feeds on the rotting heart
of the ever starving beast

it is burning.
it is dreaming.
it is. waking up.

Lützerath, 2022.

Note: Luetzerath is a village near Cologne, in the Rhineland lignite mining area, Europe’s largest source of carbon emissions. Lignite coal, the most climate-damaging energy source, is mined and burnt here by the cooperation RWE.

For 2.5 years, people have been occupying the village of Luetzerath to block the expansion of the Garzweiler II mine and to fight against the worldwide destruction of our climate. They have been committed to organising themselves in a grassroots democratic and internationalist way and managed to save 5 other villages in the area.

First published in The ENERGY Issue. Pick up your copy on campus or read online.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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