Drive time


After we block the intersection
And the traffic comes to a halt
Four or five of us swarm
Among the stopped cars
Explaining that the blockade
Will last only a few minutes
Then handing a leaflet
To those who will take one
Urging urgent intervention
To bring an end
To the gorging of carbon
That threatens all of life
On this lovely little planet.
Some drivers are curious
About our message
Some thank us for being here
And some erupt
In expletive-laced fits of rage
At being interrupted
On their way to work.


An article by a Very Smart Person
In a Very Important Newspaper
Rhetorically asks:
Is making people angry
A good way to fight climate change?
Should we reconsider?
Should we revise our tactics
To avoid upsetting folks
Already worried about that raise,
That promotion, that transfer?
Perhaps barricades and die-ins
Are too harsh
Too confrontational
Too inconvenient
Especially during the morning commute.
Perhaps drivers should be left in peace
With their take-out lattes
And their drive-time DJs
As the last island nations
And half of Florida
Sink beneath the sea
As drought-savaged farm lands
Surrender their final meager crops
As species after species
Exit through extinction’s gaping door.

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s newest book is And What Will We Sing? a collection of protest and social justice poems spanning the last 25 years. He podcasts at and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.