Experienced And Learned October 29, 2013

Bottled water, batteries

Gathered in survival needs

Bathtubs filled

Ice chests chilled

Prayer fields filled

 

On our knees in the sand

Bags and shovels in each hand

We gathered our band

The planned and unplanned

 

We stacked and we stocked

Days and nights ’round the clock

Boxing, bagging tick-tock

Til our doors were storm rocked

 

Did what we could

To protect neighborhood

Houses boarded and taped

Fear filled skies greyly draped

As the light faded, then we let go

 

Water swelling ashore

Waves forty feet, maybe more

Rolling in miles from the sea

A startling sight

Stunned all with fright

Giant omens of force yet to be

 

As night time descended

Evacuations tended

Those left couldn’t imagine the worst

Sea walls went smashing

‘Neath tsunami size crashing

Walls of water rolled, roiled and reversed

 

Streets ran raging rivers

Drowning cars, sounding shivers

Of death throes deluged, swimming past

Transformers exploded

Green flames and eroded

Faith as we knelt stunned, aghast

 

Sturdy light poles bent down

Like twigs to the ground

In the wake of wild water and wind

It was as if they were bent

By hand of God sent

To flatten a world which had sinned

 

The rage and the wrath

Cut a Biblical swath

Sweeping what man made asunder

And in the middle of it all

Rose a clarion call

Onomatopoeia of thunder

 

We lived through first high tide

A nightmarish ride

With one more to go we’d survive

Then hundred mile winds conspired

To fan flames of fires

Incinerating cars, homes and lives.

 

Tall buildings tremored

Foundations dismembered

Sand dunes and ocean met bay

Sewers imploded

In pipes overloaded

From more than man-made strength could outweigh

 

Darkness doused every light

On the unfolding plight

Wrought of the second high tide

What hope we had left

Brave and bereft

This pounding had pummeled our pride

 

Dim dawn broke grey

On the aftermath day

In silence profound and profane

Birdsong dead in the street

We tiptoed to meet

The truth of our losses and pain

 

What was left were mere threads

Homes and lives torn to shreds

While we huddled in bed

Under blankets of dread

Praying it wouldn’t be so bad.

 

Unrecognizable world

Tatters unfurled

Fires smoke whorled

Cold breath curled

We saw it was worse than imagined.

 

All the sand bags were breached

While we begged and beseeched

Ships unmoored like whales beached

Shattered dreams out of reach

Scattered on lawns, streets and railroads.

 

Highways were smashed

Homes sewage seawater thrashed

Boardwalk broken and trashed

Structures large and small mashed

All moved like game pieces thrown off a playing board.

 

Wreckage created

Sand inundated

Future unstated

Areas ill fated

Bit by reckoning bit, we let go of our lives as we knew them.

 

Bitter cold settled in

Where to begin

Mold grew quickly within

How could we ever win

Any semblance of normalcy gone in massive destruction.

 

Basics all gone

Civility shorn

Marhall law born

Tendons stretched; torn

Becoming beasts of burden in brutality.

 

Shortages rise

As do rumors and lies

Communication glitches and dies

Lines for needs wind for miles

As people queue up for icy insanity.

 

The diaspora rules

While temperature cools

Like snowiest yules

In the new era schools

Of deprivation and near Neanderthal ice age living.

 

It’s safe shelter all seek

In the mildewy reek

Homes all lurch, limp and leak

Where we work til we’re weak

As each sewagey creek recedes, leaving ruin upon ruin.

 

Light of day shown

Hospitals blown

Physicians flown

Gauntlet down. thrown

Balance and health hang in the balance.

 

Survive this if you can

You puny human

Look and see where you began

Remember where colors ran

The playing field’s leveled, you are one.

 

After months of rebuild

There are many dreams killed

As we struggle, strong willed

Ever learning, new skilled

At the lessons of letting go of all.

 

And as time and events move on with or without me, I float on a new sea of I-don’t-know and remember these two aftermath house and soul cleansing truths:

Firstly, I have learned that my essential needs for life are:

Clean air to breathe

Clean water to drink

Safe roof overhead for shelter

And…

Kindness.

 

Secondly, I have learned a new mantra, applicable in all situations:

“I cannot control the ocean.”

 

 

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