Saturday, September 03, 2005

Rice Water and Shoes

Mother brewed rice water to cure
diarrhea and bought shoes every time
our feet grew larger, ever larger,
cloth to sew clothes we couldn't afford
to buy in stores. Her children's needs came first.
Father worked two jobs, Mother taught school,
to pay for us, to pay medical bills that piled
up and up when their first baby contracted
Leukemia after clouds from Hiroshima,
drifted through the Allegheny Mountains,
past our farm.

Her own mother was a nurse, a single parent
who raised two children, and sent
the smart one, Mother, to college.
I remember telling a neighbor whose name
was Sophie about a new pair of shoes.
Mother told me not to brag. I was four years old.

So today, while 75,000 refugees of Katrina
anguish in squalor waiting for food, water, sanitation,
for medicine the Bush Administration has been unable
to produce for six days, dead bodies piling up
on streets, floating in putrid flood water caused
by breeches in levees in New Orleans
they refused funding to repair,
preferring to send money, reservists,
equipment to a war of aggression in Iraq
justified entirely by lies, a war for oil,
shoppers at Ferragamo's on 5th Avenue
in New York recognized Condoleezza Rice,
who for reasons beyond comprehension,
is the United States Secretary of State.

A woman shouted, 'How dare you shop for shoes
while thousands are dying and homeless!'

Of course, the woman was quickly removed.
It is a threat to national security to interrupt
the Secretary of State when she is shopping for
a two thousand dollar pair of shoes.

Give Condi a break. It was a light news day in Iraq —
only 982 people, mostly women and children, were killed
in a stampede on a bridge over the Tigris River triggered
by terror of bombs in another city her administration
has not been able to secure.

Hey! Let's blame the victims, that always works.
A few pissed off militants are holding off the US Army,
Navy, Air Force, National Reserve, Marines?
In New Orleans? In Iraq?
Give me a break.

When! When!
When will this administration be held accountable
for world scale criminal incompetence?

©Susan Bright, 9/2/05

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

Louisiana 1927

What has happened down here, is the winds have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
It rained real hard, and it rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

The river rose all day, the river rose all night

Some people got lost in the flood, some people got away alright
The river had busted through clear down to Plackermine
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

Louisiana, Louisiana (play)

They're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away
Oh Louisiana, Louisiana
They're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away

President Coolidge come down, in a railroad train

With his little fat man with a note pad in his hand
President say little fat man, oh isn't it a shame,
What the river has done to this poor farmer's land

Oh Louisiana, Louisiana

They're trying to wash us away,
you're trying to wash us away

Oh Louisiana, oh Louisiana
They're trying to wash us away,
oh Lord, they're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away,
they're trying to wash us away

Randy Newman


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My body is streaming with cold chills as I read the lyrics to the song Louisiana by Randy Newman. I've sung the song and heard the song before but this time with a full body chill. My heart is open and I am sending love to the people of New Orleans. May you do what your heart commands.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the music link with the slide show made me cry.

10:38 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

if you click on the red link the song will come up, then you can click on the picture link. it is rather moving.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found the link with the falling bush. this is a must watch. and if he gets stuck, you can move him around with your mouse.

really nice.

5:24 PM  

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