Monday, January 17, 2011

FEATURED POEM: For the Refugees of Katrina by Alan Britt

In a river of excrement, malaria, and broken promises,
wading through hopelessness
the drowning souls of New Orleans.

In a river of immaculate conception
floats the oldest atomic bomb,
rude as a sewer,
vile, repugnant as the new world order.

It floats, belly-up,
inflated like a giant, bubblegum-pink man-o-war.

It floats.

What more should we expect
from the twisted saxophone hips
of this enigmatic village?

What more should we expect
from the neon angels of Canal Street, 9th Ward,
Jackson Square, shotgun houses, Creole cottages,
and all others relegated to the outskirts of respectability?

Alas, what more?

But I say New Orleans’ wailing souls
deserved more than they received,
more than they got,
more than they prayed for
day after insidious day.

No insurance?
That’s a given.

Irony, the only assurance,
was no insurance at all.

Can you imagine?

No assurance in the holy land of Ford, BMW, Lexus,
and Acura SUVs gliding waist-deep
past bloated bodies tied to stop signs,
through the flatulent kingdom
of the new world order?

Perhaps the poverty-stricken
populace should’ve migrated long ago
like their ancestors to the frozen North,
away from the soup bowl of the Reconstruction,
if only they could’ve afforded to.

If only when their accountants, like crippled penguins
stuffed inside wing-tips and white hoods first suggested,
away from all the promises of equanimity
as foreign as their god-forsaken levees
ignored by low-level government thieves
of the new world order.

Author bio:

Alan Britt’s recent books are Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). Britt’s work also appears in the new anthologies, American Poets Against the War, Metropolitan Arts Press, 2009 and Vapor transatl├íntico (Transatlantic Steamer), a bi-lingual anthology of Latin American and North American poets, Hofstra University Press/Fondo de Cultura Econ├│mica de Mexico/Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Peru, 2008. Politically speaking, Alan has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some sounds radical. He believes the US should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds and oil. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur. Alan currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University and lives in Reisterstown, Maryland with his wife, daughter, two Bouviers des Flandres, one Bichon Frise and two formerly feral cats.

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