Emergency Management — A Poem

There is something to this that seems to fit.

by Eric Holdeman / January 30, 2020

From the New Yorker comes an Emergency Management poem. I've never blogged on a poem before — can't say I've ever come across one with the title of Emergency Management. The practical people in the profession may think, "This is nice, but I've plans to write, training to do and exercises to design." If you go to the link above, you can hear the poem read by the author. 

She is a poet and not an emergency manager, but she captures a bit of what we are dealing with climate change and how we are trying to react to it. Maybe that was not her intent? How she stumbled on the idea of using the title of "Emergency Management" is of interest to me. Email me, Camille!

Emergency Management

By Camille Rankine
January 27, 2020


The sun eats away at the earth, or the earth eats away

at itself and burning up,


I sip at punch.

So well practiced at this

living. I have a way of seeing


things as they are: it’s history

that’s done this to me.

It’s the year I’m told


my body will turn rotten,

my money talks but not enough,

I feel my body turn

against me.


Some days I want to spit

me out, the whole mess of me,

but mostly I am good


and quiet.

How much silence buys me


mercy, how much

silence covers all the lives it takes to make me.


In the event of every day and its newness

of disaster, find me sunning on the rooftop, please

don’t ask anything of me.


If I could be anything

I would be the wind,


if I could be nothing

I would be.


Published in the print edition of the February 3, 2020, issue.

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