Monday, February 12, 2007

A Friend's Poem for NOLA

-for New Orleans

When we gut your homes, it is
Called deconstruction,
Walking quickly, like surgeons,
Coats, masks, quiet, precise,
Tearing and scraping from
Bare bones, an opened heart,
Laid bare and cold on a stretcher,
Jut waiting to awaken, just waiting
For renewal

The walls fall, and behind
Them, more blackness than
You've ever seen, more
Silence than you've ever heard--
Through our masks, through all
Our detachments, we can hear
The city's screams of standing still,

In our memories, we remember when
This city weeped for three weeks,
Letting go of waters it could not hold
Any longer
We can still see the waters turning the
Walls black, painting the streets red,
Filling rooms, breaking walls, and then
Receding, like lust, hunger, an
Instinct repressed

When we gut your homes, it is called

this world is nailed together
to resist wind and water,
madness and conscience,
but all walls fall every
once in a while, said this
city, so just fight, just
laugh, forget what's to
be found under the waters
sprawled and destroyed

I have seen your ghosts,
New Orleans, I have seen
What's behind your walls--
Your vices and your audacity,
Your grit and your fight,
Your sadness...

And I will always
Stand with you

Joseph G. Rieu
October 2005-February 2007
New Orleans, LA

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