Tag Archives: Hurricane Katrina

You’re Doin’ a Heckuva Job–poem #poetry

Here’s the poem I read at Monday’s “Poets Picking Poets: Poetry and Pastries” event.

You’re Doin’ a Heckuva Job

The current shoves us toward
The wards and tin-roof neighborhood
And jostles hungry orphans as they
Wade across the streetcar tracks

While down on Dauphine pictures snap
And cell phones left on vibrate wake
The tourists fresh from Omaha as
Traffic drowns on Poydras Street

From above we must resemble
A child’s sandcastle half-built
Ramparts crumbling in high tide
Motion of inevitable breach

And I remember when I didn’t vote
When plywood nailed to windows seemed like strength
And councilmen found other pressing needs
As mayors fought for looser liquor laws

We wade upstream to higher richer ground
We stop to help a toothless woman die
Her grandson wails a dirge as we adjust
The lie we tell ourselves in bed at night

And know we own the water at our feet
The children’s dreams that none of us would save
The barriers that we never quite forgot
The shields we always knew would fail

And believed in anyway