Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

On Not Being Able to Write A Post-Katrina Poem about New Orleans

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

On Not Being Able to Write A Post-Katrina Poem about New Orleans

Article excerpt

It wasn't Katrina you see

It was the levees

One levee crumbled under Ponchartrain water surges

One levee broke by barge, the one not supposed to park near ninth-ward streets

One levee overflowed under Ponchartrain water pressure

We paid for a 17-foot levee but

We got 10-foot levees so

Who got all that money- the hundred of thousands

Earmarked for the people's protection?

No metaphors capture this battle for New Orleans

Now defeated and scorned by the bitter mistress of big government

New Orleans is broken by the bullet of ignorance

Our streets are baptized by brutal neglect

Our homes, now empty of brown and white faces, segregated by

Our broken promises of help where only hurt remains

Our hearts like our voices hollow now in the aftermath

Our eyes are scattered among tv images of

Our poor who without cars cling to interstate ramps like buoys

Our young mothers starving stealing diapers and bottles of baby food

Our families spread as ashes to the wind after cremation

Our brothers our sisters our aunts our uncles our mothers our fathers lost

Stranded like slaves in the Middle Passages

Pressed like sardines, in the Super Dome, like in slave ships

Where there was no escape from feces or

Some died on sidewalks waiting for help

Some raped in the Dome waiting for water and food

Some kids kidnaped like candy bars on unwatched shelves

Some beaten by shock and anger

Some homeless made helpless and hopeless by it all

Where is Benjamin Franklin when we need him? …

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