for New Orleans and the people of the Gulf Coast

water water water wind water
across the land shape of a torn heart
new orleans waves come louisiana the waves come
alabama wind calls alabama
and the roofs blow across red clouds
inside the divine spiral
there is a voice
inside the voice there is light
water wind fire smoke the bodies float
and rise

kind flames bow down and move across
the skies never seen blackish red bluish bruised
water rises houses fall the child
the elders the mothers underwater
who will live who will rise
the windows fill with the howling
where is the transfusion where is the lamp
who who in the wet night jagged in the oil

waves come the lakes loosen their sultry shape
it is the shape of a lost hand a wing broken
casinos in biloxi become carnations across the sands
and the woman in the wheelchair descends
her last breath a rose in the razor rain
uptown on mansion hill even the million dollar house bows
in the negative shade someone is afloat
a family dissolves the nation disappears
neighborhoods fade across lost streets the police
dressed in newspapers flutter toward nothingness moons
who goes there

under our floors filtered wooden stars
towels and glass gasoline coffins
the skin of trees and jalopy tires fish
bebop dead from the zoo the dogs half drag
ward number nine miss Symphony Spikes and
mrs. Hardy Johnson the new plankton new
algae of the nameless stroll in the dark ask
the next question about kindness
then there is a bus a taxi a hearse a helicopter
a rescue team a tiny tribe of nine year olds
separating the waters the oils and ashes
hear the song of splinters and blood tree sap
machine oil and old jazz trumpeters z’s and x’s
raffia skirts and jujube hats and a father man
holds the hand of his lover saying take care of the children
let me go now let me stumble stumble nowhere drink this
earth liquor going in petals

stadiums and looters
celebrities cameras cases more water cases
again and again a new land edge emerges
a new people emerges where race and class and death
and life and water and tears and loss
and life and death destruction and life and tears
compassion and loss and a fire stolen bus
rumbles toward you all directions wherever
you are alive still

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