This poem, a ghazal, was chosen by Poets For Living Waters, a project calling for submissions in response to the Gulf Coast travesty, as an Open Mic poem. I hope these words will spur YOU on to call your members of Congress and demand they re-institute tighter regulations on Big Oil, which were loosened drastically when Dick Cheney round-tabled with CEOs – not environmentalists – in forming our country’s energy policy. Another inheritance of eight years of unbridled greed, this one implicating Cheney’s pet, Halliburton, as well. Off the soapbox, onto the poem:

Ghazal for the Gulf Coast Tragedy
by Amy Barlow Liberatore

We watch the deadly ebony flow
Fossil fuels in free-form flow

At first, the movement seemed so slow
Relentless, hostile man-made flow

As more is learned, we’re shocked to know
that one part could have stopped the flow

One switch, and costing not much dough
Compared with damage from the flow

Big Oil lobbyists, strictly pro
Primed Congress’ campaign flow

Regulations were tailored so
that BP had their profit flow

Now shadows blot out coral’s glow
And wildlife chokes from crude oil flow

For every time the Gulf winds blow
Disaster follows with the flow

This sharp little pencil writes, although
I’d give my soul to staunch the flow

Amy Barlow Liberatore is a poet and jazz and gospel singer/songwriter. Her work has been published online in melisma and The Pink Chameleon; three of her works recently appeared in The Awakenings Review. Her blog can be found at

Amy and her husband, Rev. Lex Liberatore, are longtime activists for racial and social justice, the environment, LGBT equality, and health care for all. They live in the Village of Attica, NY.