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Black Pearls

“Black Pearls” is my ode to being tired of being poisoned.  You just can’t escape that tainted scent of profit in the air, the water and the food.  Asking people if they know they’re being poisoned is like asking if a fish knows the water is wet.  Corporations are, in effect, allowed to hold a gun to our heads and steal our lives with their poisonous waste in order to fatten their shareholders’ purses.
Pearls begin as foreign materials,
a sharp object, a parasite, even damage,
that makes its way into the body of a mussel,
but the mussel can’t manage to eject it.
The irritant-intruder usually enters
while the mussel is feeding or breathing
and to reduce the resulting irritation,
the mollusk begins by secreting
its normal shell-building material,
and these accreting layers of nacre
make up the body of a pearl,
once so very rare and sought after.
A cultured pearl grows in a mussel
induced by artificial irritation,
seeded via the insertion of a bead
to allow mass, commerical pearl cultivation.
The United States is a giant pearl bed
for culturing pearls within a population
used as a cultural medium and seeded
for the wealth-producing irritation created.
Beads for pearl culture are inserted
while The People are feeding or breathing,
dispensed into the food, air and water supply
or injected as part of childhood vaccines.
We swim, literally, in an ocean of chemicals,
over 77,000 manufactured in North America.  In fact,
with a thousand new chemicals introduced every year,
it’s no wonder 4 to 8 hundred are found stored in our fat.
More than 10,000 are used in the production of food
and over 3,000 wind up in the food itself,
to improve appearance and taste and preserve flavor
and boost profit via longer life on the shelf:
acids, food coloring, acidity regulators,
vegetable gums, emulsifiers, flour treatment agents,
agents for anti-foaming, color retention and anti-flaking,
agents for firming and gelling, for “improving” and for glazing,
flavor enhancers, sweeteners, preservatives and propellents,
mineral salts, anti-oxidants, sequestrants and humectants,
thickeners, stabilizers, solvents and bleaches,
and this is just what goes into the food we’re eating.
Our bodies continuously navigate
and our lungs are continuously awash in
a vast internal and exterior ocean
of ubiquitous environmental toxins:
heavy metals, phthalates, PCBs,
insecticides, herbicides, VOCs,
furans, tordon, pyrethroids, mycotoxins,
asbestos, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, dioxins,
chlorines, chloramines, chlorine dioxide,
chloroform, chlorothonal, sulfur dioxide,
dialdrin, heptachlor, toxaphene, endrin,
bromate, halo-acetic acid, nitrates, aldrin,
bisphenol-A, DES, DDT, trihalomethanes,
MTBE, antibiotics, fertilizers, chlordane,
arsenic, lead, aluminum, cadmium,
mercury, Strontium-90, depleted uranium,
trichlorethylene (TCE), hormones, dyes,
tobacco, organophosphates, formaldehyde.
Seeds like these enter our bodies
via environmental delivery systems
and more than one of these substances is
“reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
Insecticides sprayed on to country roads
and “dusted” over forest, farm and swamp land,
more insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers
used in our homes, on our lawns and in our gardens.
Those used to soften plastics in food wrap,
water bottles and storage containers,
matress pads and shower curtains,
and to lengthen the life of synthetic fragrances.
They’re in toothpaste, body wash, hairspray,
perfume and “feminine care” products,
antiperspirants, nail polish,
cosmetics, dental amalgams and eye drops,
fabric softeners, baby bottles,
pacifiers, toys, diapers and nipples,
computer and TV housings, tools,
CDs, smart phones and coffee filters,
mouthwash, shampoos, toilet paper,
laundry and dishwashing detergents,
non-stick cookware, juice boxes, tissues,
dry cleaned clothing and moth repellant,
in paints and carpeting and plywood
used to make kitchen cabinets,
household cleaners, air fresheners,
varnishes, car interiors and cameras,
mercury used in preservatives
to cut costs in childhood vaccines,
and which accumulates in fish
in portions containing fats and protein,
aerosolized insecticides applied
to airplane cabins on Asian routes,
with interior surfaces treated with pyrethroids
banned in many countries for industrial use,
chemicals used to make other chemicals
in industrial production processes,
agricultural and livestock operations runoff laced with
feces, fertilizers, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics,
discharge from petroleum refineries,
steel factories and chemical plants,
pulp mills, coal mines, food processors,
sewage and waste treatment plants,
runoff from construction sites,
parking lots, car washes and logging operations,
floors, ceilings, water pipes and heating ducts
releasing fibers from crumbling asbestos insulation,
chemicals improperly stored in underground tanks,
acid rain from industrial release of sulfur dioxide,
landfills, gasoline additives, secondhand smoke,
exhaust from millions of cars on America’s highways.
In the U.S. insecticides, herbicides and fungicides
are sprayed directly on vegetables and fruits
and due to contaminated water runoff,
suck up more of these poisons through their roots.
30% of insecticides, 60% of herbicides,
and 90% of fungicides, according to the EPA,
are carcinogenic and their residue’s been detected
in 50 to 95% of the food supply in the USA.
These poisons also concentrate in the body tissue
of all the animals we eat, in fact,
95% of human exposure to dioxin
comes from ingesting commercial animal fat.
Ozone levels in American homes
are two to five times those found outside,
due to all the household products and plastics
drowning us in an inescapable toxic chemical tide.
Walk into any dollar-type store where most offerings
are petroleum-based and/or plasticized products.
The smell will make your eyes water and your head ache,
not to mention what it’s doing to your lungs.
Environmental toxins work their way up the food chain
primarily by means of bioaccumulation,
in which toxins are absorbed by an organism
faster than its body can eliminate them.
Small fish eat contaminated copepods.
Big fish eat contaminated small fish.
Meat animals ingest chlorine, hormones,
pesticides, fertilizers and antibitotics.
Contaminants concentrate as they’re stored in soft tissues
like the brain and fat,which is marbled through meat.
The people eat the fish and the animals
and their soft tissues continue to bioaccumulate.
Even very low levels of toxins in the workplace
can be lethal over a period of time,
since bioaccumulation continues the concentration
and workers’ bodily levels of toxic chemicals climb.
Even banned substances no longer used
persist as poisons throughout the environment.
The greater the toxin’s half life, the greater the risk
though toxin levels may be low as a relative percent.
Many pesticides prevent cells’ mitochondria
from efficient conversion of sugars to energy,
so sugars are stored in fat cells
and contribute to the epidemic of obesity.
In the 80s and early 90s cattle were treated
with systemic organophosphate insecticides
that made the whole body a toxic killing medium
to rid the animal of unwanted parasites.
The UK government mandated a much higher dose
of these organophosphates than any other country,
and subsequently had the world’s highest rate
of Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis.
Many such synthetic chemicals
have a powerful estrogenic effect
and are particularly dangerous to children
since they induce alterations in sexual development.
Environmental toxins that mimic estrogen may account for
the increased incidence of male reproductive problems –
hypospadias, enlarged prostates, and in the last 50 years,
a 50% human sperm count reduction.
The environmental estrogenic contaminant, bisphenol-A,
a component of polycarbonate plastics especially,
may be instigating an epidemic of early onset puberty,
more girls born than boys and a downturn in fertility.
Environmental toxins lie patiently inside,
quietly waiting, bioaccumulating layers,
steadily growing, accreting slowly,
’til toxicity produces the pearl that is favored:
nutritional deficiencies, altered metabolism,
enzyme disfunction, problems with vision,
heart disease and attack, atherosclerosis,
liver and kidney damage, asbestosis,
asthma and allergies, emphysema, diabetes,
abnormal heart rhythms, cysts, tumors and lesions,
endocrine disorders, damage to the central nervous system,
chronic viral infections, depression of the immune system,
bone malformation, Parkinson’s Disease,
Alzheimer’s, depression, ADHD,
obesity, decreased red and white blood cell production,
reproductive disorders, impaired fetal brain development,
autism, schizophrenia, hormone imbalances,
malformation of sex organs, myriad cancers,
multiple sclerosis, birth defects, miscarriage,
enlarged prostate, fluid in the lungs, blood vessel damage.
These pearls of great price produce wealth
not only for the corporations that do the seeding,
but for harvesters who diagnose and perform
the subsequent task of grim reaping
via operations, procedures, prescriptions, insurance premiums,
office visits, hospital stays, long term care and prostheses,
experimental grant programs, chemotherapy and medications,
“disease” management, public relations, remedial and special education,
HMOs, pharmacies, predatory insurance companies,
the entire credit card, banking and financial industries,
private hospitals, undertakers, crematoria and cemeteries,
nursing and funeral home chains, lobbying functionaries,
dieticians, diet food producers, authors and exercise gurus,
fertility clinics, lawyers, politicians, makers of phramaceuticals,
cardiologists, obstetricians, gastroenterologists,
gynecologists, psychiatrists, otolaryngologists,
nephrologists, dermatologists, surgeons and dentists,
anesthesiologists, radiologists, fertility specialists,
rheumatologists, neonatalists, urologists, geriatricians,
opthalmologists, hematologists, oncologists, pediatricians,
neurologists, proctologists, neuro-opthalmologists,
physical therapists, orthopedists, internists and endocrinologists.

The practice of medicine has descended
to mere triage and disease husbandry
as physicians tend to acculturated injuries
as if they followed disease etiology.
Finding a “cure” is never seriously considered.
Cures only short circuit profit creation,
which comes with stretching out suffering
with newer, costlier, more toxic medications.
So much suffering’s been caused, so many lives lost
through policies that sabotage prevention
and so many industrial poisons are so widely dispersed
their effects are known only by use on those exposed to them.
We pay not only to be seeded, but harvested,
the price for living in a deregulated society,
the no-holds-barred, free-for-all melee
of capitalist ultimate fighting mentality.
Corporations freely dispose of their waste
into the air, the Earth and the water
and also use waste as a product component
so even corporate excrement generates profit.
Because rather than pay to dispose of their waste
they force Americans into corporate coprophagia
and charge us for the privilege of eating,
drinking and breathing their posionous garbage.
It’s the ultimate fight pitting human worth
against depraved, indifferent corporate “need”.
The outcome’s no contest, because like Kissinger said
most of us are disposable “useless eaters.”
After industry flacks toil twenty years
on corporate pearl-producing plantations,
they’re appointed to oversee those same industries
by criminally craven U.S. Administrations.
EPA and FDA are fully-owned subsidiaries
of the United States Chamber of Commerce
as are 99% of “our” Senators and Representatives
bought by industry to serve them in “our” Congress.
Even Finance Industry-issued credit cards,
which many of us use to pay for medical treatment
of the pearls cultivated by callous corporations,
metastasize into unmanagable debt.
We are only a nutrient substance,
a mere corporate cultural medium,
suitably prepared by their advertising
for cultivation and subsequent seeding
to create carefully-controlled growth of corporate wealth
via this seeding, irritation and “disease” accretion
of fabulously remunerative cultured pearls
through these nefarious “horticultural” techniques
propagated by the diseased corporate delivery system,
we live in their poisonous, profit-based world
where the air, the water, even the food we eat
creates the cold, cruel beauty of cultured Black Pearls.
Vi Ransel is an activist, organizer, writer and poet living in New York City.

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About Vi Ransel