Love in the Time of Climate Change
My name is Ryan Thoresen Carson and I am a poet and community organizer in Brooklyn, New York. These poems and accompanying illustrations are drawn from a book-length collaboration between myself and the visual artist Alexander Harristhal titled "An Admittedly Sinking Yacht." The book is a meditation on political organizing during the intersection of the opioid epidemic and the Covid pandemic. It is a frank discussion on social change, burnout, and the people we lose as we fight for a better world. We wrote this book while leading an organization called NO OD NY, which worked to establish the nation's first overdose prevention centers in New York City.
and i’m sitting on an ice sheet in the middle of the ocean.
I am improvising a piano.
This wasn’t the plan.
You aren’t partial to my puns about being adrift.
Puns, funnier when they lack
literalism, at least point to a lack.
You said, if you love me so much why don’t you write
a poem about it
this iceberg symphony.
I’m bonding with this ice to compose a piece about etiquette.
I’m in repose on this ice, wondering if I can be coquettish.
On this ice my ass is cold.
I’m using a player piano but this symphony is still
for you. And a few others. It’s a toy piano, but I'm not a boy.
Only you make me feel like one, when running on the thin ice.
Still can’t catch the gentle drift.
Ryan Thoresen Carson is a community organizer and poet living in Brooklyn, NY. His chapbooks include Bullhorns in Bed (Thistlemilk) and Don’t Watch Me Dancing (Txtbooks).His poems have appeared in Line Rider, The Promethean, and Oxford Magazine. He is the Executive Director of NO OD NY, an advocacy organization working to end overdose death in New York. In 2021, he did a 500 mile durational walk from New York City to Buffalo to demand the state create Overdose Prevention Centers.
Alexander Harristhal was born and raised in Minneapolis, graduating high school from the Perpich Center for Arts Education in the visual arts department in 2012. He moved to Brooklyn in 2012 and received a BFA from Pratt Institute for Fine Art with a concentration in drawing in 2016. He lives in Brooklyn, making paintings alongside work at a custom cabinetry and fabrication studio in Greenpoint.