When dictators who rule over transnational corporations

finally choose to do no harm to other people or species,

it’ll be an ice-cold season in hell as billionaires shout

at their servants to hand them their loaded assault rifles.


When they dictate their fresh plans for the triple bottom line,

will they explain to the crowd how they managed to run

their misinformation campaigns aimed at creating enough

doubt about climate disruption to block collective actions?


The dictators were hired to control takeovers and fabrications,

to camouflage needed information, and to deal with others

like them, single-minded money-mongers who’ll say anything

to maximize the bottom line, who seek positions of advantage


for putting one over on somebody else, to enrich themselves

before others, to give executives bonuses before investing,

to keep politicians beholden, harnessing them with blackmail,

to straight-out lie to congressional investigation committees


and position middle managers where they’ll do the dirty work

of cutting costs, compromising the local air and watershed,

and externalizing every possible cost for others to pick up.

When they finally decide they should cause no harm to others,


it will mean their view of world has been radically enlarged

to allow for presence of others and importance of ecosystems.

From the moment this is announced, immense relief will pass

from person to person, as we once again can picture a future.


by James Grabill

James Grabill’s work appears in Caliban, Harvard Review, Terrain, Mobius, Shenandoah, Seattle Review, Stand, and many others. Books – Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994), An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), Lynx House Press. Environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Books One (2014), Two (2015), Wordcraft of Oregon. For many years, he taught all kinds of writing as well as “systems thinking” and global issues relative to sustainability.

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