September 2017

Sol Not Coal


Hakim Bellamy


The biggest trick

your utility company has ever pulled

was getting you to believe

that the sun didn’t exist.


Reduced it to a forecast

instead of fuel.

Sold you a 20 gallon

top down road trip …


Instead of Energy Independence Day

and a straight line from your electric car

straight to the source.


What if you could plug

your whole entire house

into the sun?


What if we let sleeping coal lie?

What if we let the fossils bury their dead?

What if PNM got its head out of the ground,

and led?

What if New Mexico stopped looking back

and looked up?


Realized that while they are mining our pockets dry,

money is literally falling from the sky

and we can mop it up

with solar panels and wind turbines.


All the miracles we’ve been praying for

have been right in front of our eyes,

while these snake oil salesmen have been

circulating this collection plate of lies.


Make no mistake about it,

they are not giving us “power,”

they are bleeding us dry.


All the rain we prayed for

was wasted on a coal-fire plant,

the kind of plant that doesn’t grow

when you water it.


The kind of power we want

doesn’t have to be laundered

because it is already clean.


Unlike money,

it’s the kind that comes from

a million marching in the street.

A different shade of green.


It’s only bottom line consideration

is that people breathe…

even while they’re watching their television

I.V. electricity.


Mother Earth is desperately

in need of rehab,

at the very least

a clean energy exchange.


The day she quits these smokestacks

they will stand like an eyesore,

halo-less, as they should be, on the horizon

as a monument of what once stood

between us and the future.


That time when

profiteers took to impersonating scientists

and split atoms into hairs

while our icecaps went bald.


Before we learned

that there is no Rogaine for nuclear winter.

No half-life for meltdown survivors or victims,

it’s always all

or none.


Because there is no future,

there is only now.

There is no future,

unless we “now.”


So you can tell Mama Earth

that we gon’ stick those windmills

on them hillsides like it’s her birthday,

and she gonna blow ‘em out like lights.


Like she never smoked coal a day in her life.


Like photovoltaic cells

on every sunglass lens in New Mexico,

cause today is so bright

all we see is dollar signs.


Because our sol

is so deep

it’ll never deplete


It’s the one thing

we can farm without finishing.

It’s like clockwork.

It’s how clocks work.


Sure as sunrise, it’s the one thing you can depend on.

At 4.5 billion years old, it’s got a great track record

of not melting down…

and when it does…

we got way bigger problems than

“clean up.”


The greatest trick

the devil ever pulled

was convincing the world

that he didn’t exist.


The second was

getting us to forget

that we are part sun, all soul.

A walking current of synapse

and stardust.


Each one of us

100 watts of power

at rest.


© Hakim Bellamy, Oct. 10, 2014. Written for the 2014 Fall Upcycle Festival and Solar Celebration, New Energy Economy


Hakim Bellamy, Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, NM (2012–2014), is a national and regional poetry slam champion, author and performer. He is on-air host of the New Mexico PBS show ¡COLORES!



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