Monday, June 7, 2010


Posting a poem I wrote mad long ago after my first trip to New Orleans to do work after Hurricane Katrina destroyed everything. This trip was one of the most rewarding, amazing experiences of my life. We gutted seven houses in five days with a group called Katrina Corps. Met some cool people, heard some very sad stories, and enjoyed the distinct personality of this lively city.
Anyway, here's the poem...I was trying to compare the rotten house to a dead corpse, kinda morbid, I know, but the whole fuckin' situation down there was pretty morbid, I gotta say.

Lower 9th Ward

The silent blue tongue was left closed for so long that it rots black and green
in the dust blaze. Hundreds in rows down the street have become barren tombs:
the ghost town quiet except where grass starts to grow. Spray paint marks front panels: X- “Dog Found Chained,” X- “One Dead in Kitchen,” and we climb inside.

Couches, bathtubs, desk drawers, and even the air is heavy, our masks are humidifiers
that pinch pouring faces. We hack at the corpse until debris swells
on the floorboards and squirming animals fall from the walls.
We fill wheelbarrows with jackets, blankets moist with disease,
baby shoes stored away for years.

Pom-Poms, birth certificates, photo albums soaked deep,
pictures bleeding like ulcers.
We throw the garbage to the street where hollow, wooden rib bones cool
and carpet rots in the afternoon sun. Disposable douche bags, uprooted
as dirt in the closet,
letters from a father in jail now lie spread and naked.

They saw the black bodies float, but no one came.
$68,000,000 to rebuild the Superdome so the athletes don’t feel the rain.


  1. Wow, Yvonne, this is so powerful. You're really good. (As I expected.)

  2. this is really well written, yvonne. let's have a poetry lovefest together sometime, please?

  3. Haha! Thanks, guys!! Friggin blogger messed up my line breaks, and I tried to fix it, but it just made it worse lol. Poetry lovefest? You know I'd be down :-D

  4. Excellent! Very descriptive and captures an Activist type view.