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10/12/13

While the Hurricane Kills Down South

The wind blows fiercely today. It reminded me of a prose poem written on 09/18/05:
1.
The wind ruffles the late summer scorched leaves.
My lover had a bad dream.
“It must be the hurricane down South. I feel weird myself,” I explicate.
“Honey, why you always come up with things that are not?” he grumbles.
“Things that are not? Haven’t you seen the papers? It can twirl all the way up here! New York City can drown under the ocean! It’s due soon!
“They told them to leave the city. Leave at once! Why are they looting? Where will they take those things to? The city is under the water! Don’t you understand? They have to leave their pets behind! There are corpses lying on the streets. The coffins are floating down the river! The pest will burst out! Get out now!”
“Honey, these people have nothing! They lived there all their lives! They don’t know better. They are afraid anywhere else. They were not looting. They just got survival supplies. The white people left with their trunks in luxury buses! They left long time ago! Let the Blacks die. Get rid of them. That’s how it is. This country is foul!”
“You exaggerate. You wish there was an evil design behind this mess but it’s just leadership screwed up in their heads. They lost touch with reality. I’ve been thru this. Our dictator had golden toilet seats while we were starving. They go crazy in the head. You guys gave away your freedom. Why I came here for? To watch another illiterate moron speak on TV? I can’t believe you elected an illiterate for President. And what is this, a dynasty? Where is America?”

2.
I left Louisiana in the summer of 2001, though I tried hard to strike roots there. Upon graduation I left for the big city, find my luck here.
Yeah. Just in time for the blown up towers.

The cancer of termites and water was eating New Orleans away. The city was on an IV system, on artificial lungs. Its inhabitants knew it was bound to die. And now it died.
The French Quarter theatrical weirdoes staring at you provocatively. The revelers in the gay bar streets. All under the water.
Maybe they are still at it during the night, now not worried anymore about when the city will sink under the water, now let’s party forever. All under the water.
At home there is an entire village under the water, with its church steeple and whitewashed peasant houses. They flooded it because the dictator wanted more electric power and he decided to have the turbine dam right there!
Flood this ancient village! Kick the people out. What heartbreak? Off you go, villagers! Let progress open its wide avenue. Flood the church!
All it’s left from my Louisiana is two dozens of plastic cups I have from the parades with Bacchus, Denizens of the Deep, with sirens and dickhead squids, and dolphins; Okeanos Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages, half-horse, half-fish; and the Peasants Are Revolting with a wigged flamingo or stork nobleman and toothless peasants scooping their noses while furiously brandishing bones and wooden spoons and hay forks. And assorted carnival paraphernalia. Some pageantry fridge magnets. I love the Mardi Gras beads. I have a suitcase of them stored somewhere. Cups and beads.

The memory of walks around downtown. The remembrance of a screenplay teacher that wrote about a neurotic girl who painted her Charles Street studio in red. The ghost tours. The cemeteries. The mocking bus driver, “Thank you for taking the tour. I don’t know why you did it, but puts my kids thru college.”
The out-of-the-beaten-path jazz spots. The old whore house attic rented out to yuppies we were hosted one weekend. Its beds pulling out of the walls. The palm trees. The park with trimmed hedges around a glorified stone general where I met a Canadian pen pal for the first time. The sugar-dusted beignets.

3.
Huddling on the subway. An Asian cutie pie trust-fund baby with a cap matching her suede boots plants herself across from us. She crosses her legs to cover her panties, but only to expose her thighs up to her waist underneath her miniskirt.
My lover looks younger than me today. I didn’t sleep enough. She grins. Mistakes us for a down-the-hill art chick with a poodle and $3,000 a month loft walking her gigolo.
It tires me.
People are crammed in the Superdome, famished, drinking their own piss, scrapping the feces off the four-day-used pampers, shooting at the rescue helicopters.
My lover takes gently back my hand and talks me thru the subway ride.
Pettiness of women.
We go about our day: Brighton Beach, the last days of summer. Tame waves.
Imagine them turning into a menacing wall of water! Our city covered in water. How high? Sky scrapers. Boats fishing people out of the Twin Towers.
My lover still restless about his nightmare. I was in it: in a tight black leather suit, at the Frankfurt Airport. My hair blue-black. I wasn’t waiting for him! Ominous, bad things are about to happen to him.
We stroll on the Brighton Beach main street. Shops with Russian dolls. Movies from Russia. I buy Tarkovsky’s The Mirror. Reluctant. He’ll fall asleep while watching it, think me a boring yuppie art chick.
The old ladies chatting in front of their apartment block; the grumpy blonde youngster, flushed cheeks, selling pirogees.
I buy eggplant for .59 and black berries for .99 a pound.
Home. Where’s my home?
We had an earthquake at home, the roosters and cats and dogs raising hell in the night. We had two earthquakes. Death. Block of flats tumbled across the avenues. People buried alive under debris. Looters stole wedding rings from dead people. I won’t live in a place with earthquakes. I left. And now it’s flood here too. Haven’t called in a while my mom.
Home.

4.
Back to our Manhattan. Walk on dark streets around Gramercy Park enjoying the light filtering thru the tree of life leaves, a relic. On a garbage bin a stray sneaker, a Santa Claus cap.
Oh, such old building with gargoyles, a hunchback, a griffin, a grotesque lion. Home!
We walk by a square in a park with sea lions coming out half of the cement pavement, spurting water at intervals.
The T-shirts with the French Quarter masks and the yellow LSU Go Tigers!
On the river walk a grandma watches tense from her bench her two grandkids running around. The river is cruised by boats. We peak thru the windows: a birthday bash. Glitzy people fight their way thru a hall filled with millions of orchids. Millions! I pay one dollar a stem at the corner florists. Millions of orchids! After the party the waiters will leave with armful of orchids, the purple cups crushing under their own weight.
The garbage dump brimming with more of them, broken, trampled, shoved in with food leftovers.
Famished packs around the Superdome.

5.
In the dead of the night we watch the Russian movie. We make pop corn from scratch, watching the jumpy kernels come to life, the cooking pan lid pushed up until we can’t control them anymore and popcorn spills around the kitchen. Life.
We watch the film, cozy like two peas in a pod. The wind makes the grass wave like a sea. Her husband left her with two kids. Shaven heads. War. Lice. My childhood in the village. Shaven skull to strengthen my thin hair. Two skinny pigtails, the red ribbon plaited fattens them up.
My mother had thick hair, but the girls in the dorm cut her peasant braided tails off while she was asleep in the night, to modernize her.
We watch the movie. It’s me who doses off.
Brigita! Why do you eat your candy alone under the cover? Share it, comrade! Your dorm room friends shared their cakes sent from home! Share your candy, Brigita! You don’t fool anyone. The crunchy noise under your cover, Brigita! Stop crushing the candy in the dark!
I wake up crying inconsolably. I want to go home.
America is a trap! A rat trap!
My beloved hushes me, Mi corazon, mi corazon.
America is a trap! Poor people dying like rats in New Orleans.
I want to go home! Please, please…
Agony. A people dying in agony. I thought I got out of the rat trap when I left home.
Your arms are my home, mi corazon.


 
 
Well, here you have it: If you’d like to throw a bit of money my way to keep my endeavors going, and also enable me to spread the money to my various causes, witnessing democracy, freedom of speech and faith, and engineering social change thru art being some of them, I’d be grateful.


New York
October 12th, 2013

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