Saturday, August 19, 2006

yeah, it's just like anywhere else, huh?...

UPDATE: via C&L, check this out. please especially note this:

Covington Peace Project:

We, those of us who worked for justice through the Louisiana Activist Network, lack the fortitude, at least currently, to suggest a vehicle of dissent without the help of many others.

Last night, in a reunion of Crawford/Katrina "survivors", we elected to seek nationwide support in an action to deliver a message to the government relative to its own failings to its people. In honor of the DEAD OF KATRINA, we ask that our fellow citizens please ship a bottle of drinking water to the president. We hope for an enthusiastic response to this simple and cost effective request:

Please send a bottle of water to:

President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Put your return address as:

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70130


I got mine already wrapped and addressed. hope he's thirsty.

okay, a bit of an addition (via the Rude Pundit) to my little diatribe/debate with our conservative/libertarian friend mr. tycoon on the ease of access and information at the FEMAville trailer parks in still-devestated New Orleans and the surrounding area.

read this and this link from the post. easy as pie to get information, huh? just go talk to someone, right?

simple. it's exactly like everywhere else. especially the part where even the rich people have had their lives upended by the complete lack of public response to the death of New Orleans on many many levels. and while things may be improving (according to some indices), they ain't great. all of this overshadows the larger problem: the American system of government, the "disinformation-of-the-day," Two Minutes Hate rightwing owned media, and the collectively amnesiac conciousness of the American people have all but abandoned one of our oldest, most beautiful, most unique cities: Nawlins, the fucking home of jazz for christ's sake, as well as the larger Gulf Coast region that is slowly struggling to its battered feet.

well, here is but a fraction of the New Orleans that I fell in love with:

rain in the Quarter

man, we drove up and down those
one way streets looking for anyplace
to put the old car. we smoked
joint after joint, listening to the jazz on
the radio. we played under the cloudy late afternoon
skies, up and down, Ursulines and St. Phillips,
over Dauphine and back up Burgundy, there was a spot.
we swooped in and nabbed it. the
girls wanted the river, and I wanted
Lafitte’s over on Bourbon, the
oldest bar in America; I wanted the brass top bar
and the oldest wood and a cold beer. we parked
and the smoke was still sweet next to the
fused together wood houses and their balconies,
the iron courtyards with thick hidden gardens,
the walls with broken glass set in the top, the
multicolored security, the long
hurricane windows covered with green and white shutters
where the old men sit and watch this old south.
everything seems the oldest.
we split up and I split for
the blacksmith’s shop. it sits on a corner and
is of course open to the street like most of the
bars here. a big mean stupid dalmation lay
half asleep on the floor; he growled as I walked in
and ordered a Dixie beer. the sun was beginning to set
over Bourbon as I sat and drank. it went down perfectly,
in crimson, coffee and indigo,
and the gas lamps came to life and New Orleans
held its breath for the coming night. I had one more while
the dog slept, and then met up with the girls back at the car
just as the threatened rain began to
trickle down from above. we hustled thru the streets past the
overgrown flowers blooming in yellow over the black metal sidewalks,
past the old wood of the south, past the fortune tellers running for cover
in the square, past it all and thru it all,
and when the rain really fell, it was all I could do
not to cry or laugh
at the magical sadness that peeked warily from behind the
closed shutters and from down the long dark alleys
as we hurried along, not missing anything
in the easy rush
of the warm
French Quarter rain.


but the city isn't just the Quarter, of course, it's all of it, the poor hard working citizens, the upper crust with the giant houses, the bums in the park, the old oak trees nailed into the sodden ground, the smell of food cooking, the taste of wine, the unrelenting buzz of insects over the tang of the river, the language, the faces, the urine soaked gutters and bead draped limbs and alleyways and cemetaries and love and light and hope.

the sound of a brass band dancing up to the edge of the grave and laughing.

and like the Pundit notes, it ain't the Sudan, but it is America, right? don't we expect more from the American Dream, from our leaders, from ourselves?

5 Comments:

Blogger christopher cunningham said...

credit: orig. published in The Chiron Review

1:45 PM  
Blogger c. allen rearick said...

dig the poem c.c. i say we hustle up a bunch of NO poems and send on to GW. here's my contribution -

POEM FOR NEW ORLEANS IN THE KEY OF A MINOR

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming
shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift
my lamp beside the golden door.”

- Statue of Liberty

They are already here
caged in ghettos by slumlord bandits
sitting atop the seven hills
of hypocrisy
getting high off wax-coated truths
flown too close to the sun
that have melted
and filled our ears
with snake-oil poison
killing all hopes
of survival and rescue

turn your red crosses
upside down
while our national guardsmen
and troops
protect your foreign midas touch
in the holy name of freedom
as a city and its people
slowly grow extinct

burn your lazy lamp
in the dark
and sing us a vigil

‘this little gospel heart
of mine
I’m gonna let it cry
for the destitute millions
broken by the weight
of a government just as helpless
as its hapless citizens
hidden under a Bush

oh no!
he’s gonna let them

die.”

9:09 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

good stuff, CAR. I wonder could we sell a chapbook anthology of NAWLINS poems to enough people? I'd handle it, along with the soldier book I've not forgotten.

thoughts anyone?

6:35 AM  
Blogger christopher cunningham said...

too late, I've already sent an email. I'm gonna put one together, and that's that.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Luis said...

fine poem casey.

9:14 PM  

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