by Angeliska on September 18, 2005
Perhaps you’ve seen this already, or perhaps
everyone’s already sick of hearing about it,
looking at it, just the thought of the smell of it
creeping under conversations in crowded bars,
everybody’s opinions, a foul odor pours in from
the gulf, from the delta, that tattered fertile crescent..
I’m living a truncated, abbreviated version of a life-
something happened in between the ages of 20 and 26
when I didn’t live here, a had another life somewhere else.
Like in a dream you wake from wondering-
where’s the wormhole, the wrinkle in time?
The only film I’ve distracted myself with through all this
is Želary – to which I could relate excessively.
A woman moved from one life to another,
forced on a new identity- where is love in survival?
I’ve been in hiding, holed-up and barricaded in my
mind much of the time- I peep antennae out or am
dragged by them by well-meaning and loving friends
who I am so lucky to be surrounded by.
The fact is, I’m having trouble processing all of this.
To many, it’s a horrible tragedy that happened
last month- but it’s still happening to me,
to everyone else that called New Orleans their home.
I’m kept busy by bread lines, bank lines, food stamps-
by trying to piece together a new blank home
out of old memories and my dead mother’s knick-knacks.
It’s very beautiful here, and I feel guilty for having
access to such peacefulness, even though I still
can’t sleep, nerves a-jangle, dreams where I open
my mouth to scream and nothing comes out.
Survivor’s guilt, a hint of post-traumatic stress,
unable to return so many phonecalls, letters.
Start over in strange new skin, riddled with old scars.
Oif alle poste palder
Oif alle viste valder
(A calamity in the empty fields
and in the empty woods..)
This isn’t going to go away-
put the pieces together for yourself.
This changed my life, and ended so many others.
It destroyed not only homes and communities,
but fully eradicated any faith and trust
in an inhuman regime, in the idea that
everything could ever be okay again.
That stank isn’t going to stay down South
when all the stagnant muddy water recedes.
It’s gonna slither into your little house too,
And what are you going to do when it does?
Keep talking about it, keep yourself informed-
I’ll bust my ass to help you if you’ll just look
instead of looking away:
We somehow try to retain a sense of humor
This made my skin crawl –
Storm Survivors Told To ‘Expose Themselves’
Malik Rahim and Amy Goodman – read it:
New Orleans Activist Points to Neglected Corpse as U.S. Military Passes Off Blame
This Modern World – always good and useful
New Orleans Network – If you’re far away from home, check this out.
GET YOUR ACT ON
Grassroots NOLA relief
A eulogy I didn’t have the heart to write – thank you
As well as this from
More coming sooner than you think.
I’ve got new contact info, phone number,
address et al. Let me know if you need it.