Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

Great Barrier Reef - August 8th, 1999

Description: What might be mistaken for dinosaur bones being unearthed at a paleontological dig are some of the individual reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest tropical coral reef system. The reef stretches more than 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) along the coast of Queensland, Australia. It supports astoundingly complex and diverse communities of marine life and is the largest structure on the planet built by living organisms.

Credit: USGS/NASA/Landsat 7

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Rest in Pieces, Great Barrier Reef

in Obituaries by

An obituary has been
published for the Great
Barrier Reef, appearing
suddenly on the digital
plain: landscape ultimate
& forever & expanding &
24/7 the obituary will live
on while death to coral &
violence to ocean, blessed
water a forgotten thing only
trifling, so passé, of the past

honestly — we want corpse
gown and Day-Glo, we want
fishes surfacing in whisper
tones, we want the poles
evaporating like phantom
glitches on angel radar, oh
so inexplicable because we
Adams & Eves are chosen:
we survived the apple, Sodom
& Gomorrah, arks, hurricanes,
tsunamis cowering, coral nothing.

We prevail, resilient beings patented
& patted on the back for grace &
glamour & god itself with hands of
vertebrates & damn the rest who
don’t survive. We supreme, mighty
kings of destiny! Destroying dream
anew; faithful too — no climate crisis,
no warming, no ‘change’ — just cold,
hard proof that we are the wonderful
ones, the meant to be, the beginning.


Obituary: The Great Barrier Reef (25 million BC – 2016) [OutsideOnline]
Great Barrier Reef Obituary Goes Viral, to the Horror of Scientists [Huffington Post]
Only 7% of the Great Barrier Reef Has Avoided Coral Bleaching [ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies]
The Great Barrier Reef: A Catastrophe Laid Bare [Guardian UK]

Luna G. Reiley writes across hybrid non-fictive forms. Her work has been showcased by the DeYoung Museum and staged at Artists Television Access in addition to performances at St. Paul’s Church and Alder Manor. She is an MFA Writing candidate focusing on poetry at California College of the Arts in Oakland.

Satellite image of the Great Barrier Reef taken in 1999 by USGS/NASA/Landsat 7.


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