“Australia’s natural wonder is in mortal danger. Bleaching caused by climate change has killed almost a quarter of its coral this year and many scientists believe it could be too late for the rest.” —The Guardian


there, first sprawled 50, 60 years ago:
first mall in Jersey,  craving’s newest thing,
one of the best things money’d ever known

following the grunts of dozers and backhoes
came cranes that stacked a steel matrix

came masons and glaziers, came drywallers
and square miles of gypsum, came plumbers

and electricians who would light and make it
Paramus’ blazing jewel
……………………………………………. —and then

(the point of it all) came cars drawn like flies

they circled its sanctuaries of stuff
buzzing till each found a spot to dock

and disgorge its contents of devotees
who came to be sated and soothed,

calmed by the incense
of new shoes and shirts

and who, like flies themselves,
lit upon ordered heaps of future refuse

stacked by size and color under the vacant gaze
of mannequins lining walls in odd postures

in mirrored niches like plaster saints
flanking altars ka-chinging like communion bells

at the head of queues of communicants
doling offerings of sacrificial benjamins

beneath hung ceilings pocked with bulbs
that raked all with unnatural light

and ricocheted from the high polish
of acrylic floors

This konsumtempel was the first church
of a luxurious future unknown to past peasants

who’d built sublime cathedrals of sweat and stone—
spired fingers pointing to clouds—

serfs with no premonition of the polyester excesses
of advanced societies that rose

to heap their wants upon the world,
sapping its abundance, spewing waste,

suffusing the air with smoke,
as they bleached its fragile corals,

killing them and themselves
(as they would eventually know)

Jim Culleny