Red tide washing on a red state.
Red tide every year getting bigger.
Jump in, say the couple from Kansas.
Jump in, say the kids on spring break.
Not so bad, this stinging on the skin.
No so bad, this stench in the nose.
Swim enough and you’ll get used to it.
Swim enough and it’ll all seem normal.
Red tide gets in the heart. No more heart.
Red tide gets in the brain. No more brain.
Soon you’re floating. No need to struggle.
Soon you’re drifting, massed with the dead.
Red tide spreads pain. Ride tide spreads poison.
Ride with it. Kill with it. Be greater than you are.
About the Poem
Not much to say about the poem. It was suggested by the juxtaposition of the red tide that kills everything in its path and Florida, the reddest of states, that seems determined to crush all marginalized communities in its reach.
About the Author
Chris Bullard is a retired judge who lives in Philadelphia, PA. In 2022, Main Street Rag published his poetry chapbook, Florida Man, and Moonstone Press published his poetry chapbook, The Rainclouds of y. His poetry has appeared recently in Jersey Devil, Stonecrop, Wrath-Bearing Tree, Waccamaw and other publications. He was nominated this year for the Pushcart Prize.