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The Sky != Blue!!!!

By Wren Krisztin

Hover for content warnings: mentions of death, gunshots

&& as the visi0n of it fades: y0ur face is a fl00ded m0rgue.
        but u r a f0restry pr0fessi0nal :)
        dreading the pulp beneath yr b00ts
        the s0und the highway brings: the h0peful w00shes 0f a s0ciety
        als0 c0l0r the sky=”pink:#ffc0cb, yell0w:#ffc011, green:#009277”
        smelly m0ney always sings a familiar tune... that’s hard t0 decrypt
        a suit=a duel: every m0rning at the trailhead.
        I laugh=y0u smile: with that dictat0r’s grin.
        killing=grief: sh0ts fired int0 the s0rry heart 0f a witness tree.
        but they had been here the wh0le time!!!!
        1658, 1776, 1865, 1930, 1968, 1993, 2003
        l0st t0 the whimsy 0f energetic c0in.
        lightning r0d rigged by y0u: faithful park service empl0yee.
        I w0uld say the tree was murdered...
        but y0u’d laugh at me f0r being a hippie.
        && the tree alm0st killed us 0n its way
        d0wn t0 make m0re m0ss
        t0 make a very l0ud dying s0und

Artist's Note

A "witness tree" is a term for a tree that was present for a significant event in history on the site where the tree exists. This poem is me thinking about that as it relates to the paradox of the public park, being that parks (especially national parks in the United States) are caches of "natural history" at the same time that many of them are sites of the violent eviction of Indigenous people. Going further, the internet is a place to witness the world and one another. The language we use to describe our histories in real time via memes and other means adapts to this relatively new cerebral mode of experiencing history. Styles, slang and other conventions can indicate time passing much like the rings on a felled tree can signify the temperature or rainfall a tree experienced in a given year of its life.
Wren Krisztin is a writer and multi-media artist whose work is dedicated to dealing with political mythology, paradoxes, and the influence of media on memory. Raised in a family of Southern military brats, they are now based in New York on Munsee Lenape land.