Tag Archives: catastrophes

No Useful Illusions

What useful illusions we once had are gone:
that governments serve, that the lowliest pawns
with slow forward motion may yet become kings.
How quickly it seems that the simplest things

become complicated and mired in deceit,
and minor successes engulfed by defeat;
despite constant vigil and unending toil,
the fruits of one’s labors will wither and spoil.

And those who claim otherwise, believing luck
to be the foundation of bargains yet struck,
are lost to insanity greater than most:
that we are prized guests of some kind, noble host

who when we plead hunger, will provide the bread.
‘Tis more often shadows of crust, and instead
of a table of succulent dishes and wine,
more often takes form in less pleasant design.

What artifice leads us, in spite of these truths,
to believe in justice beyond tender youth
and strive for no purpose, for unseen reward,
each beyond the true means that they can afford,

to trust in a government built on such things
as man’s dignity and hope’s gossamer wings,
and think that the tightrope we cross at the top
of the tent has a net below for when we drop?

Illusion, illusion. There is little use
in hoping one’s neck out of reach of the noose;
and justice? Like vultures, the lynch mob rides in,
an anonymous mask for a number of sins.

04 DEC 2005

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The Aftermath

Ain’t no use in looking back;
your eyes will be fooled by the mirror.
What seemed once to be so small,
becomes too big and crystal clear

Ain’t no use in laying blame;
The line between who’s right and wrong
is blurred with every movement on:
The tide rolls in, and then it’s gone.

What good is simply hanging on
to dreams that fade and turn to dust?
We struggle forward ’cause we must,
like darkness crawling to the dawn.

What good is thinking might have beens,
or wishing for some different path?
They won’t help you to understand
or live on in the aftermath.

Ain’t no use in looking back;
let shadows take the past and go.
There’s not much point in memories
that only say I told you so.

Ain’t no use in wondering why;
some things aren’t meant to understand,
and reason’s never all you need
to carry on the best you can.

What good is crying for a dream
that’s faded and returned to dust?
You struggle forward ’cause you must,
like winter’s snow melts into green.

What good is mourning what you’ve lost
in shadows somewhere down the path?
You’ve got to try to start again
and rebuild in the aftermath.

There’s just no point in sad tears
for the wasted years,
the time spent building those castles of sand;
As the new morning nears
and the stormclouds clear
you work with what you’ve got at hand.

What good is trying to hang on
to dreams of what is dead and gone,
leaves turned to dust there on the lawn,
the memory of a faded song

What good is dwelling on the past?
Those days are gone, the die are cast.
You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt
and live on in the aftermath.

19 NOV 2005

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The Storms We Name: an acrostic

H elpless in the laughing face of elemental change
u nloosed as a pointed reminder that we each exist –
r eally, at the mercy of the Mother’s loving hands, the
r ight extending blessing, while the left removes our veiled
i llusions of reality. When humans pause and
c ontemplate their permanence beyond wild theories
a nd religious dogma it really comes to this:
n othing last forever except
e nergy, which we can only borrow for a while.

K ept too long, without knowledge of its purpose, it
a trophies, or seeks to be released; we see this shift as
t rauma, without sensing the balance that is
r ighted by a ruthlessness that makes our lives seem
i nconsequential, even meaningless, when compared to
n ature’s awesome bent for self-renewal
a nd will for preservation of the whole.

09 OCT 2005

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New Orleans

Dear America:

The day after Katrina passed by New Orleans
and the reporters at the Royal Sonesta Hotel
on Bourbon Street,
in the goddamn sacred French Quarter,
were saying “New Orleans has been spared”
I knew it would come to this.

The day I heard the levees at the river and the lake
had been breeched, leaving New Orleans East
and the Ninth Ward
underwater,
I knew there would a Convention Center horrowshow,
the elderly and infirm,
the HIV-positive
and countless streams of self-medicated
mentally disturbed
wading through miles of toxic shit
and the garbage from under the streets
of the Quarter.

I knew it would become a race issue
for people outside New Orleans.
People who don’t know what it’s like
to live in a mixed white black neighborhood
that is also middle class.

People who aren’t privileged to understand,
just by driving down three blocks on St. Bernard Avenue, say,
that there are only four kinds of people in this world:
rich people,
poor people,
people pretending to be rich
and people pretending not to be poor.

In other words:
the haves,
the have-nots,
and the have-credits.

What good is sending people back to Covington,
to Metairie, to Harahan … to the freaking CBD?

Without the Ninth Ward, without the poverty that
birthed jazz, without those
underprivileged, undereducated, underemployed,
underwater souls
who would care about the City that Care Forgot?

The great boot of Louisiana is now a dirty sock.
With its great expanse of money-making Democratic blue
washed out
and only the tired elastic red left at the top.

I’m tired. And I’ve lost my home.

And Mayor Nagin,
nothing you can do can bring it back.
‘Cause unless it’s exactly the same,
it won’t be New Orleans.

26 SEP 2005

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Feast During Famine

When Obiwan Kenobi felt the end of Alderaan
it was as if a hole appeared and swallowed, to a man,
the lifeforce of each precious soul existing ’til that time
and twisted, perhaps frayed, the cord of which we form a line

I wonder, when tsunamis hit, when earthquakes take their toll,
how many sense the devastation wrought, and still console
themselves that these are unknown folk of far and distance lands
and do not feel the spike that drives itself in others’ hands

In retrospect, we call it karma, God’s will, or bad luck;
but are we all so ignorant, fresh off the turnip truck,
that we must have some writing on the wall to comprehend
or find a mystic omen first, and then assist a friend?

The world is what the world is, whether nature’s realm, or God’s;
but sadly, we each feel so distant from it, and at odds
with every notion that connects us to each living thing,
and every song that all life forms but us have learned to sing.

The lost, the dead, the wounded? These poor souls have passed the test.
There but for the grace of some God, we think, we live and have been blessed;
but blessed not with just life, but opportunity to grow
and prove our faith in something is of substance, not just show.

How can we ease the suffering? How can we stop the pain?
How can we more control the world so it won’t hurt again?
A better question, one that might serve better those who grieve:
How long ’til each of us becomes what we say we believe?

30 DEC 2004

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Lady Sorrow

for Starlight Dances

When the laughter in your eyes can’t hide the pain inside your heart
And the world around you will not stop to listen
When you wake up in the morning with a space inside your soul
And no one will answer when you ask what’s missing

When the doctors and philosophers can’t cure the hurt you feel
And the medicines they offer promise nothing
When the day is spent in sorrow with no ending clear in the sight
And your anger turns to sadness at their bluffing

Will you rest a while and let me dry the teardrops on your cheek
Will you let the one who loves you well take care of you
Will you take my hand and give me time to hold you in my arms
Will you listen to the words I speak to comfort you

Lady sorrow, I will be your willow tree
’til tomorrow, when the sadness sets you free
You can borrow any strength you need from me;
I am here with you and that is where I want to be.

When the trying just to smile can be too much for you to bear
And the thought of things unfinished is so haunting
When you stare out of the window with a longing in your mind
And no one will realize how you’ve been wanting

When the advisors and consultants can not give you sound advice
And they ramble on and don’t offer solutions
When you’ve grown so tired of speaking with no hope that you’ll heard
And your voice is weary with grim resolution

Will you stay and while and let me wipe the teardrops from your eyes
Will you let the one who loves you share your weeping
Will you give to me your hand and let me hold you in my arms
Will you trust me to watch over while you’re sleeping

Lady sorrow, I will be your willow tree
’til tomorrow, when the sadness sets you free
You can borrow any strength you need from me;
I am here with you throughout all of eternity.

You can cry – I will understand; you can scream and I will never turn away
I will try – to help you where I can; in my love for you there lies a better day

Lady sorrow, I will be your willow tree
’til tomorrow, when the sadness sets you free
You can borrow any strength you need from me
I am here with you and that is where I’ll always be.

25 MAY 2000

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