my priority was silence

after being weighed
measured
scanned
and cavity searched
by tsa agents

i just wanted to find a quiet chair near my gate
within the noisy LAX terminal

preferably a dark corner
with no other passengers within twenty feet

lacking over-molested copies of the LA Times
and the pink sugary crumbs
of well traveled two year olds

ah, there it was
my weary feet and rolling carry-on
made their way toward flight deck utopia

a rounded blue row of seating
right by the tinted night windows

my eyes were swollen from crying
i didn’t want to leave the city
or the love i had come to find there

unable to read, think, have a smoke or a drink
all i had at that moment
was a peaceful spot
in the airport
before my red eye back home

that’s when he walked over
disturbing my solitary meditation

a learned looking man
accompanied by a worn brown leather miami university attache

i suspect he felt safer near a fellow buckeye
smiling as he read my sweatshirt
which reads
college of mortuary science cincinnati

he asked if he could sit
certainly i replied
this area is annexed for Ohio

we exchanged life stories

24 hours he had been on a layover
in Los Angeles
on his way back from China

he said he was a professor

who had been sent there
to teach the chinese
how to slowly kill
the American economy

the exquisite irony
wasn’t lost on me

because he was positively green
his skin gray
eyes glassy
silvery hair dusted black
from breathing particulate from coal plants
and suicide net surrounded factories
floating in the Beijing air for the past three weeks

his shaking hands
pulled out a stash of respirator masks
still in his pocket

the sight horrified me

it was the first time i realized that all was lost

the human race is near extinction

that inconvenient truths are
merely the tip of a melted iceberg
given the reality of irreversible damage

so

i got up and threw away
the remainder of my give-a-fuck
hearing the girl from ipanema went walking

now boarding boomed

as i traipsed down the ramp to the tin can
not caring as much if it safely landed

full of the knowledge

we’re building cell phone towers
on the corpse of a planet