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Passions in Poetry

Katrina--if somebody was gonna say somethin' I wanted it to be me

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serenity blaze
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0 posted 08-24-2006 04:40 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Here, at least.


I've got all this white space to fill and I don't know where to start.

Katrina...she could give me witch lessons with a capital B. I have a love/hate relationship with her yanno. I knew, I knew, something seriously drastic had to happen to the City of New Orleans. The heat was symbolic of the oppression--I felt like I was growing gills in early August.

I watched this city rage in a roil I had never known before. That sounds more poetic than it actually is. But to illustrate how that feels, I once lived in the city without air conditioning, and when I heard my wind chime tinkling--I knew there was no breeze. I knew a flying palmetto bug had landed on my porch wind chime and they were swarming. (I theorize that they DO indeed swarm, Mike. *wink*) So I had to shut the windows, or face the consequence of unlikely winged creatures crawling on me and mine that night.

It ain't nice.

Katrina, Katrina, Katrina...

If you've ever had a lover that broke your heart, then you know that mantra. Just fill in another name and it'll do. She stopped to bite the head off Florida before she proceeded to stall in the gulf, horrifying those with any sense, and provoking a show of bravado in the rest of us.

We have to have bravado. We have only three exits outta here, and all three are in the normal projected paths. So yep, bravado, (bottled or otherwise) some plywood, water, canned goods, and have you made a decision? I hear the sound of The Clash as my soundtrack here--"Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"

I hate decisions. They are so...irreversible sometimes. I like options. That is so much more optimistic sounding, doncha think?

But I watched that damned storm...all through Friday night, Saturday Morning, Saturday evening, into the wee hours of Sunday--I watched the authorities project that path right up my nightmare--the Mississippi River.

I didn't believe.

Bull sharks I said.

I am a CAJUN.

I do not evacuate.

(unless it's a mandatory evacuation, and everybody knew, N'awlins never, EVAH called for no mandatory evacuation.)

Then they did.

What I swore could never happen here was happening here, right before my bleary hungover eyes.

"Are you sure? They said mandatory?" I was asking my husband. He is notorious for misinformation, so I had to hear it for myself.

There was Ray Noggin (a term of affection, I sweah) saying, yes, it was an historical first, but this was THE ONE.


I still wasn't believing. I mean, you hear about this crap all of your life, but you don't believe it will ever actually happen, right?

So I did what any sane woman would do--I called my Momma.

"Are you packin'?" I asked.

She answered, "Well I've got yer Daddy's doublebarrel and a .22..." grin..that's a lie. She didn't say that.

What she actually offered in return was a question:

"What will you do if I don't go?"

No hesitation on my part, folks.

I told her:

"I'll stay and die with you."

Now that sounds dramatic, but it's the truth of what I said.

She seemed to think that was funny, so she told me to pack my bags and meet her in Houston.

Looked like we were all going to experience our very first evacuation.

Stop a minute and think now--those of you who have never done such a thing--what goes through your mind--what do you take? What is essential?

First, you think Life.

Your children, your pets, your husband. (ooops, he was drivin', so put him first. *blush*)

We didn't take pictures, but we did take insurance stuff that we could find immediately. We all took one change of pants, two shirts, and I took a mu mu. Life without a mu mu ain't worth livin'. Sheesh.

We left everything else.

We honestly thought we'd be back the next day.

We took I-90 outta town, and yes, that seemed the most dangerous way, as that highway follows the coastline, but, I trusted it more...we all did. That's the way we always went, so that's the way we left. It was a frigging nightmare folks.

Imagine it, yer sitting there on this elevated highway--the only thing between you and the hardbottom swamp, and you ain't goin' nowhere. Bumper to Bumper, and a lotta peops were drunk. We had stopped for gas at the only place we could, some place just outside of Morgan City--a town that ran off offshore monies, an "Indian Casino" and one small gas station boasting maybe, twelve pumps? I dunno. I had to go INSIDE and wasn't thrilled. The place was being looted. The cops were there, but they were busy guarding the casino.

I took the time to clean the truck of our garbage and laughed at my own naivete' as the wind blew the stuff right outta my hands.


The first bands of Katrina were hitting us--and we had to get back in that parade of bumpers and try to get the hell outta there.

It was crazy.

Mysteria Sharon, don't ask me how she does this, but she managed to get through on the cellphone--I talked to her and PdV, and I knew I couldn't hide the desperation in my tone. I wanted OFF that highrise. Real Bad. (Shar? and Shar? If I was irritable, forgive me please?)

The sunset is beautiful over the swamp, but when there is a storm approaching, it is just...

I realized my insignifigance.

So I thought I'd pray.

I can't name the God I prayed to, if there's a frequency, I pray I am never in a situation to find it again, but I was sweating fierce, and thinking, "we need to go some place no one else would think of..."

Keep in mind, I am working that damned cellphone. We missed the I-10 split, and so we were stuck on 90, which meant, if that storm didn't take a jog to the east, we might...wincing, we might get caught in a hurricane on a damned highrise highway.

I was one unhappy witch.

Then the phone rang.

And folks? You ever have a moment when you realize you get exactly what you pray for? grin


I found my place of refuge, and it was a place that no one else had thought of...A TRAILER PARK.


It sounded good to me after we kept kissing bumpers with them that was ahead of us and them that was behind us.

So Crowley, La. it was. The Rice Capital of The World. (I did wonder how that could be, considering the Chinese seemed to have considerable population and acreage on Louisiana, but hey? I'll buy the advertising--just get me off this expletive highway, right?)

So we found refuge in a trailer park.

And that was just the beginning of my survivor guilt, 'cause y'see? After that, as Uriah says, it was all gravy.

We found refuge from the trailer park in a private hunting camp afterward. And then, the outpouring of love, and total generosity from my fellow Pipsters began pouring in.

I am talking about the real deal here--our bank was underwater, our bank cards frozen, and the good people, who were always so generous with emotional love and support backed that up the hard way--and I had to swallow hard just now. We had no cash. We need gas, clothes, food, and the outpouring of love and essentials that came from the people of this remarkable site still stuns me to purple cheeked humility.

I wrote a friend here, and I told him that my evacuation was so mirculous, that I felt almost embarrassed. I had no horror stories to tell. (The snakes were bad, but harmless, and more amusing than my nephews. Seriously.)

But I told him that the entire thing reminded me of something I had seen my father do once, long before his diagnosis of lung cancer, back in the lazy good days of "life is good"--he took my children out to play in his back yard.

My Dad was an avid gardener and his backyard was felt like forever in there, standing still. He had a liking for St. Augustine grass though, and my daughter Krista, had never actually walked barefoot on grass before. She found the spikes of St. Aug distasteful. And yep, she cried, no, she WAILED, when she got to the end of the concrete, as she watched my son run gleefully barefoot throughout the backyard paradise that was my Dad's.

I tried to pick her up and follow him for her. But no,  that wouldn't do. But then I watched my Dad do something that exemplifies the spirit of him.

He took carpet samples, that were stored on the porch from the newly renovated living area, and he laid them grandly at her feet. He would lay out two and pick up the third, and wherever she wanted to go, that is where he placed it.

I wondered how long he could keep this up--he was ill, and I knew his back hurt, and nod, I tried to dissuade him, but no. He kept up this game for almost an hour. Her path was laid out like magic before her, and the spikes never touched her tender feet.

That's what I thought of in Crowley.

How  blessed I was, how blessed I remain, to have such friends in you all.

You laid the carpet beneath my feet.

And I do not know if I can ever pay you back.

But as promised--I will always live with the intent of paying it "forward."

I couldn't let this anniverary pass without a proper thank you.

So those of you who took the time to read this, thank you too.

There are some here in New Orleans who intend to commemorate the date of Katrina by ringing a bell.

This post is mine.

Thank you,

with love and gratitude and forever paying it forward,

serenity  blaze


The Spike Lee documentary?

He ain't nevah lied.
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in the shadows

1 posted 08-24-2006 06:54 AM       View Profile for icebox   Email icebox   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for icebox

The time of this made me laugh.

That is about when I threw a little local storm in your know, no big ferris wheel...just a little wind and sideways fat drop rain with a few flash bangs to light the early morning sky.  Now my head hurts but nothing really good is free in life.  Sky is clearing now, sun getting close; time to close the lid and go back to sleep.

Happy anniversary ( of the time you survived Katrina )!
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Between the Lines

2 posted 08-24-2006 07:05 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

finding a moment to read you and feel touched by your words and thoughts that are so "you".

I hope that everything begins to look up for you soon...

kif kif
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3 posted 08-24-2006 07:09 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Serenity Blaze, I would hug you if I could. Throughout everything that you've been through (I can only imagine, but your talent with words makes me understand a little) you've maintained your humour. You're a brilliant person. I've not watched the Spike Lee film, but it's people like you that make the events personal to people like me. Thank you.

[This message has been edited by kif kif (08-24-2006 10:13 AM).]

Marge Tindal
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4 posted 08-24-2006 07:52 AM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

The all of this touched me with waves of remember for how we prayed for the safety of all~

A more-fitting commemorative piece you couldn't have penned~


~*The sound of a kiss is not as strong as that of a cannon, but it's echo endures much longer*~
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5 posted 08-24-2006 10:11 AM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

Karen....Karen...I am remembering how my thoughts were with you, about you.  I didn't send anything but hope for strength, but of course you didn't need that.  I've wondered since, how it was for you, and now I know.  I know the amazingness of one person to touch another, (the best kind of pass it forward)...thank you.  
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6 posted 08-24-2006 10:54 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

This is one to be printed out and framed.  You are blessed, Karen!  And we are blessed to know you.  Mush....mush (but sincere).......jojo

PS:  That is some great writing, Ser.
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7 posted 08-24-2006 02:58 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

The ultimate Katrina story, and I want you to know, you have left me with a huge tear rolling down my cheek. Not from sadness as much as joy, for listening to you speak the truth is an affirmation of friendship, love, strength under pressure. And all in a package of words that flow in the most amazing essence of grace.
And this morning as I was taking my CPR refresher course, before reading this, I thought of that Nawlins scenario, wondering how many times the medics, the police, Red Cross or others might have had to put their training to practical use. We must always continue the emotional CPR long after the physical needs are met, yet I see, there is still much to do to repair the body of damage done to so many communities. And through it all, you've been a beacon of strength even while trapped within those moments of fear.
You are amazing, and it is such an honor to call you a soul's sister in love, friend, and a poet extraordinaire.
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8 posted 08-24-2006 04:12 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

But as promised--I will always live with the intent of paying it "forward."
  And this you do up proud.

Cloud 9
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9 posted 08-24-2006 06:04 PM       View Profile for Cloud 9   Email Cloud 9   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Cloud 9

You are, hands down, an amazing person and I am not sure if that word even discribes it. God, has handed you a "plate full", but through it all you have such a positive outlook and you keep going. No matter how many times this has knocked you down, you always get back up and dust yourself off and you tackle every problem with a sense of winning (if that makes sense). YOU are one of the most strongest women I will ever meet. My hugs and prayers go out to you and your family.  
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10 posted 08-24-2006 07:05 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yes, roaches do do friends
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11 posted 08-24-2006 07:20 PM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

"Fascinating woman" = Karen AKA Serenity.
Loved what you put down here. Saving it and will reread it over more than once again. Love to you, martyjo
serenity blaze
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12 posted 08-24-2006 08:26 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

ya'll are gonna make me cry yanno...

but I feel so hugged.

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13 posted 08-29-2006 02:46 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel



Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

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Listening to every heart

14 posted 08-30-2006 07:34 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

You are loved, Karen.  You and your whole family...and you brought the reality of it all to us as the media never could.  

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15 posted 08-30-2006 08:43 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

I hope with everything in the might of prayer
that you folks never have to re-live this ever again....

and I still believe you should write a book on this...Serenity, people should know and who better a writer then the serene one?

Love to you and thank you always for sharing...keep penning dearheart
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16 posted 10-11-2006 02:39 PM       View Profile for garysgirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit garysgirl's Home Page   View IP for garysgirl

Hey little SereneOne!! Have I told you lately that I love you? Well, I do, Karen.
Heart Hugs
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17 posted 10-17-2006 11:42 PM       View Profile for Allysa   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allysa

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