September 5, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

CC photo



Joan E Bauer






On the Fortieth Anniversary of Love Canal



United States v. Olin Corporation

1978 – First time EPA & Justice tried


to jail the corporate big-wigs.

My husband Paul’s biggest case at Justice.


Could they prove Olin Corporation dumped

38 tons of mercury in the Niagara River


& lied about it?  Not just the 5 tons

they admitted.


Paul would call from the Buffalo Airport.

Snowed in again




Local officals announced: No problem.

An elementary school built on a dumpsite


of 55 gallon drums: dioxin, pesticides, chlorobenzenes.

The outcropping: blood disease & birth defects.


Cleft palates, clubbed feet, extra fingers. Love Canal.

A housewife, Lois Gibbs, blew the whistle.




Some questions (from the Buffalo Water website):


            Why does my water smell and taste like algae?

            Why is brown or orange water coming from the tap?


Lead content is the worst around Genesee Street

near the MLK & Schiller Parks.


How much worse?  Less official testing in black

& Latino neighborhoods. Hard to know.






The Secretary of Labor Who Tried to Save the Jews



She had Maine farm roots & a sense of mission,

but what transformed Fannie Coralie Perkins:


witnessing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

146 Jewish & Italian men & women. The choice:


to fall to earth or die by flame. To prevent theft,

the owners had locked the doors.


Fannie changed her name to Frances, took on

somber dress & pearls.




Perkins was the Mother of the New Deal:


Social Security, unemployment compensation,

child labor laws,  the 40-hour work week

& minimum wage.




By 1933, rumors began seeping from the homeland

of Beethoven & Goethe. While Roosevelt dawdled,


Perkins brought thousands to safety, including

‘that nice Von Trapp family’ & Sigmund Freud.


Who needs these Jews & foreigners?

They could be Marxists or anarchists, saboteurs or spies. 


In 1939, legislation that could have saved

20,000 Jewish children died in the Senate.


By then, the Mother of the New Deal was sidelined,

humiliated, powerless to do more.   






Joan E Bauer

Joan E. Bauer is the author of The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008). With Judith Robinson and Sankar Roy, she co-edited the international anthology, Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami (Bayeux Arts and Rupa & Co, 2005). Since 2001, more than 200 of her poems have been published in journals, periodicals and anthologies in the USA and abroad. For some years she worked as a teacher and counselor and now divides her time between Venice, CA and Pittsburgh, PA, where she curates the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series (www.hemingwayspoetryseries.blogspot.com).

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.