dverse · poetry

dVerse — Water — Flint, Michigan

flint water

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Linda is the host of dVerse today. Linda says:
So today, fellow poets I want you to write about life sustaining water, in any of its three forms- solid, liquid, or gas.  You may write in any form you choose, this is a Poet’s choice prompt.

I would love to write something positive today about water, as it is a miracle substance that keeps us all alive. I cannot pass up an opportunity to write about a real-life horror story that involves water. It’s a long post, but I hope you’ll stay with it until the end.

From wikipedia: The Flint water crisis began in 2014, after the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan was changed from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to a less costly source of the Flint River. Due to insufficient water treatment, lead leached from water pipes into the drinking water, exposing over 100,000 residents to elevated lead levels.

The Flint drinking water contamination began in April 2014 when Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water (sourced from Lake Huron and the Detroit River) to the Flint River. Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water. As a result, several problems occurred that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The Flint River water that was treated improperly caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, leading to extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal neurotoxin. In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have been exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead and they may experience a range of serious health problems.

On 11/29/11, “After the city declared a state of financial emergency three weeks earlier, Governor Snyder appointed Michael Brown as the city’s Emergency Manager on November 29, effective December 1.” This, effectively, removed representative government from the city of Flint. Snyder appointed these Emergency Managers to several cities around the State of MI. These managers reported directly to him.

In 10/14, “Flint’s General Motors Truck Assembly plant discontinues using Flint tap water due to corroding engine parts from high levels of chlorine.” What’s interesting is a brand new pipeline had been built for the GM plant to hook up to the clean water, while the residents of Flint were forced to keep drinking the toxic water from the Flint River.

In Flint, their hair is falling out,
Baby corpses birthed, lead sinkers.
Unlucky neonates will live,
Cranky and rash-covered, suckling grey
from anemic breasts.

Chemically altered, Neanderthals
who will club their ways to prison.
Orphaned by then as their kin have
Disintegrated, bit by bit.
Forgotten as the iron bars clang shut.

400 parts per billion. Lead that is.

Governor Snyder’s chicken scratch
on official sheets of shit allowed
toxic rivers to flow from faucets
while fountains of youth percolated
towards the auto factory.

Cognitive stunting
Bone loss
Destroyed kidneys and livers


Snyder walks free, his smirks continue.
One tough nerd,” was his campaign slogan.
Obama visited and said he’d drink tap water.
He was offered a glass of it.
He declined.


38 thoughts on “dVerse — Water — Flint, Michigan

  1. Damn, this is a stunning diatribe against the monstrousmmistreatment of the population of Flint; political gains and greed for sure. Michael Moore,has included Flint in several of his documentary films.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always the poor, with limited mobility, who pay the price. I’ve been watching Michael’s films since his first movie on Flint, “Roger & Me.” He also has an exceptionally well-written memoir, “Here Comes Trouble.”


  3. Very well explained about the dismal state of that toxic water in the river. Without clean water, our health is damaged – as you say it is Irreversible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is scalding and corrosive in its condemnation, so deservedly pointed at the asshat(s) who permitted this catastrophe to unfold. Snyder should be imprisoned with a diet of only bread and water – his putrid water!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree, Rob, about Snyder. He’s not governor anymore, as of January. He’s probably out on the golf courses several times a week, living a carefree life. I hope karma takes a big chunk out of his hide and that his suffering lingers.


  6. Do you want to hear something I find hard to believe? I went out looking to find the youtube of Obama not drinking the water, and all I found were videos from 2 years ago, with titles saying, “Obama Drank the Water”. No sh*t. Go check it out. It took me awhile to find the one I posted. Not sure what’s going on with youtube, but I think censorship is going on.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A bunch of people got something called Legionnaires Disease from the water also. When I think about the auto plant getting the good, clean water from a newly built pipeline but the citizens had to keep drinking that filth — when you are poor you can’t buy bottled water — it makes me lose faith in humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Powerful write, Jade, with intense imagery and simmering anger. If you’re open to it, I’d like to ask that you consider changing your use of ‘Neanderthal.’

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you, Nora. I will think about the change, but with the other intense imagery I think it fits. There is no more intent to offend the horrifically wronged individuals affected with it than there is with any of the other images. The reality is offensive.


  10. I understand completely. It throws me because I try to follow new developments in our understanding of Neanderthal culture, and my concept of them is of a people with expressions of beauty and language and spirituality, not brutalism. And I thank you for being open to my comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I appreciate your expanding your reasons. I thought you were concerned about a slight on the victims of Flint for being compared to Neanderthals. I also appreciate learning about my misconception of what Neanderthal culture was about. If you have a link I’d like to learn more, Nora.


  12. No, I’m wary of the current gaps in regulations that allow the testing companies to have rights over customer’s genetic information. My dad did years ago via National Geographic, and we know that his alleles are shared with populations in Northern Spain and Ireland.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you Victoria. Thanks also for the link. Sometimes staying silent can’t happen. I appreciate you saying this as I know what an advocate you are.


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