Biofuel Confusion

Gas emissions choke the world.
Ministers of greed chortle
as profits sustain their power,
letting them ignore perils
that fossil fuel is creating
for poor and  privileged alike.
Oppressive regimes are sustained,
their people bought or suppressed
in a world oil dependant,
making Earth more polluted.
Oil profits cushion our masters,
support our enemies,
pay for weaponry,
fund plots against civilization.

We are trapped in oil servitude,
manipulated to consume
what the lords of profit decide
until the haves become sated,
while have-nots simmer in  anger.
Yet leaders of the U.S.A.
ignore the problems of fossil fuel
and accept the poisoning
of air, earth, water, our future,
while means of survival
become obliterated,
and we are oblivious
to wanton destruction
of our children’s tomorrows.

The tyranny of oil decrees
higher speeds on highways,
higher prices for fuel,
larger vessels for shipment,
longer pipelines for transport,
regulated production
for economic control
that determines consumption,
which insures dependency
on a diminishing resource
that may  do more good than harm,
but punishes us for usage
that we only  seem to protest
when prices go up at the pump.

Our leaders propose
alternative energy,
presenting various options
from silly to futile.
One recent popular choice
is corn-produced ethanol
that eager advocates assert
will replace costly, toxic oil.
Greedy farmers rush to plant
bigger and bigger corn fields,
planting fewer and fewer crops
that feed animals and man,
so everything will cost more,
while animals and man will eat less.

Corn is a row crop
that adds to soil erosion,
contributes to pollution,
needs tons of fertilizer,
huge amounts of  pesticides,
expends large amounts of fuel
to grow, harvest and dry,
which causes nitrogen runoff
that consumes vital oxygen.
This alternative fuel
makes almost  as much greenhouse gas
as the gasoline it replaces
further depleting the soil,
competing with food production.

Some leaders wave the banner of green
claiming corn-produced ethanol
an alternative to fossil fuel,
but that is merely illusion.
Our energy dependency
on diminishing fossil fuels
threatens the world’s food supply
as farmers plant less
wheat, rice,  peas, rye, other crops,
increasing the price of grain
that feeds our livestock, poultry, us.
In the pursuit of more profit
more acreage will be used for corn,
further depleting the food chain.

If the entire U.S. corn crop
was used  to produce ethanol,
it would only replace twelve percent
of U.S. gas consumption,
lead to rising prices
for processed and staple foods,
affect the relationships
of food producers, consumers,
all nations of the world,
threaten global poverty,
threaten food security
in the global food system,
slightly annoying the haves,
further distressing the have-nots.

Using gasoline and ethanol
is burning a candle at both ends
consuming itself wastefully
in our endless lust for energy.
Windbags urge wind or solar power
that cannot answer our demands
for more and reliable power.
When fossil fuel is exhausted
and ethanol depletes the earth
and the wind no longer blows
and the sun no longer shines,
we’re left with few alternatives
except nuclear energy,
or huddling in caves again.


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. His chapbook ‘Remembrance’ was published by Origami Condom Press, ‘The Conquest of Somalia’ was published by Cervena Barva Press, ‘The Dance of Hate’ was published by Calliope Nerve Media, ‘Material Questions’ was published by Silkworms Ink, ‘Dispossessed’ was published by Medulla Press and ‘Mutilated Girls’ was published by Heavy Hands Ink. A collection of his poetry ‘Days of Destruction’ was published by Skive Press. Another collection ‘Expectations’ was published by Rogue Scholars press and ‘Dawn in Cities’ was published by Winter Goose Press. His novel ‘Extreme Change’ was published by Cogwheel Press and ‘Acts of Defiance’ is being published by Artema Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.


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  1. Pingback: Table of Contents, Issue Five | Matter

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