Thursday, September 08, 2005

Transubstantiation: Katrina, 2005

I apologize for the bleakness of this poem..


Transubstantiation: Katrina, 2005

When the storm hurricanes
blowing a city apart
then impasses breached
when the inland river flows over
containing levees
and brings the flooding ocean back
and death rises
against the attics of redemption
against the attics of wood and tile and tar
where last breaths, last rites
before drowning
in the communion cup
New Orleans became.

Of storm water
debris of ruin and bodies
excrement and chemicals
and the wailing
loss, wailing
in the diminishing wind.

Twenty thousand in the Superdome
stranded, the unescaped
awaiting welfare checks
that were washed away.
Carnage of a city,
so much death.

The Holy Communion of New Orleans,
what the fundamentalist
administration
chose to ignore,
in the richest country in the world.
People starving, senseless dying.
Freedom of all citizens to
inalienable rights, stripped;
democracy nailed on a cross
broken floating on flood waters.

Days
without help.
Helpless
days.

The shock and horror
of being black, racial minorities
poor, destitute, suffering
in the windless silence,
the swirling storm
not even a memory in the clear sky.
And the deaf posturing of the high priests
of Washington.

A city underwater.
A city drowning
in the sins of a country.

A city of death, swollen with
drownings
disease, fetid, slow evacuation.

America, take this chalice
of holy flooded water,
remember how monstrous
you have become,
and drink.



_____________________________________________
NY Times: "A disaster of Biblical proportions..."
Globe and Mail: The Flagging Empire
Women's e News article on Rape Victims; Charmaine Neville's video on the horror of the rape and killing, abandonment by the administration, and survival: Survivor's Story