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December 03, 2016
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Without boundaries: A found poem*

My family has been here for four generations
My wife and I bought property here six years ago
My family and I, we’ve had a house here for 18 years
My family has been coming here since 1900

    I grew up in the Catskills
    I swam in the streams, the lakes
    I went fishing, I climbed the mountains
    I ate the corn.

I was born in Callicoon
Raised in Eldred
I live in Cochecton
I have two businesses on Main Street
I am not an outsider though I live in Glen Spey
Don’t you know me? Then get over to the library
I live and work in this wonderful town
I’m 16 and I ought to be working on my homework right now
    But I’m not, because I’m here
    because it’s important to me.

My love of this land and water is vast

I didn’t know that you could live in an area for 28 years
    and be an outsider
I didn’t know you could generate income
    and collect sales tax
    and not be a stakeholder

We’re not an island
We are all stakeholders
Stakeholders in each others’ towns
Regardless of boundaries
All of us who breathe air, and drink water,
And cherish our peace and quiet

The river does not speak
But is a stakeholder
I am speaking for the river
The millions of non-human species around us
No one speaks for them. They also are stakeholders.

I am here to speak for my five-year-old son Alec
    and the next generation after that
    and the next generation after that.
When we moved here, we chose it
    because he would have a childhood
    he would have an innocent childhood.

There’s something very special here
The clean water and air, the quiet roads

Now there’s some ready cash to be made

Drilling creates side effects
that do not respect property boundaries
Trucks and noise
Drill pads and foul water
69,000 trucks coming over that bridge
right over there, down on the corner
People whose water supplies are tainted
Whose home values have dropped by 90%
Fields turned into open pits of chemicals

People literally walked away from their farms
The water was polluted and the air was polluted,
The noise from the pump stations and the truck traffic
And the livestock were dying