Monday, September 05, 2005

Sadness & Outrage in the Aftermath

Gulf Coast communities in Mississippi, Alabama, & Louisiana--especially the ruined city of New Orleans--are suffering in what is likely the worst natural disaster in American history. The vast damage done by Hurricane Katrina has been exacerbated by human depravity in its aftermath, including the incompetence & indifference of state and federal leaders, and criminal actions by a small portion of the local citizenry taking disgusting advantage of the chaos & lawlessness.

Over a million people have been displaced, thousands are dead, many billions of dollars in damage has been done & countless lives have been ruined. The entire city of New Orleans has been ordered evacuated and will likely be shut down for at least three months. The psychological effect of this disaster is enormous for its victims and those helping in rescue and cleanup efforts. Even when New Orleans gets back on its feet, it will be a haunted city for generations, just like Oklahoma City after 1995 and NYC after 2001.

Possibly the hardest aspect to stomach from the New Orleans disaster is the slow response especially from federal "leaders" & agencies like FEMA and the so-called Department of Homeland Security. Days went by and people lost their lives from rising floodwaters, lack of food, potable water, medical care, sanitary shelter & protection from the elements & violence. While this is an overwhelming situation, why didn't our leaders anticipate what could happen if a major hurricane and flood struck this coastal region? Why weren't they better prepared to respond to this---isn't that their job?

It's scary to see demonstrated (yet again) just how vulnerable we are to all kinds of disasters. It's evident the government cannot be counted on to help us. Some have raised voice that the socio-economic and/or racial identity of the vast majority of Katrina's victims might have fostered a slower relief response. Would it have been handled differently if Martha's Vinyard was in a similar situation? Others have pointed out that the president has our soldiers & National Guard stretched so thin & far across the world that it takes a week for them to deploy to a major American city.

New Orleans is (or was) home to a vibrant zinester community. As an activist writers group with roots in the zine community, we of the Underground Literary Alliance will do all we can to help zinesters who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. While our financial resources are limited, we can help get the word out about those writers in need, and hopefully aid their recovery & rebuilding efforts. If you're a small press writer who's been displaced by Katrina, or if you know someone who's been affected, please email

Look to the literaryrevolution
webpage for a ULA Monday Report about this real soon. In the mean time, consider helping all Katrina victims in any way you can. Donations of as little as $5 can be made to reliable organizations like the Red Cross, goods can be donated to groups like the Salvation Army, or you can volunteer labor for the rebuilding effort with Habitat for Humanity, or in the DIY spirit, start your own collection & relief effort. If you're unable to do anything like this, then keep all the victims in your thoughts & prayers.

Now it's time to bring some poetry back to this Adventures blog! Talented writer Doug Draime is just the guy to do it with these four poems that express a bit of outrage. Hope you enjoy them, and thanks for reading my longwinded speech. --Pat Simonelli


Four poems by Doug Draime....

Spiders And Madmen

Madmen hold their

greasy fingers

on the buttons,

while pigeons shit and


in Pershing Square.

As the fly is devoured by the

spider in the corner

of your living room;

its huge web a maze of

fly corpses.

Madmen trade your name

to other madmen.

You are nothing but a series of

numbers to them.

Or a piece of meat

meant for the butcher block.

Madmen think you are

nothing but a body to be

bought, then destroyed in mass

in the middle of a bright

full moon night.

Madmen see you as profit

or loss broadcast on CNN.

They don’t care about your

immortal soul, and curse

you and your descendants behind

armored doors.

While pigeons still shit and

congregate in Pershing Square,

as thousands of fly corpses

fall down from the web in your living room,

blocking your frantic escape.

War Mall

There could be time

enough, and even

energy enough,

but the will stumbles back

into unrepairable


The lungs have inhaled

marijuana, and the

day is dark, moving like

a snail uphill in fog.

Everywhere there is

preparation for war ...

where the big countries

bomb the little countries.

The mall is full

of robots called American Consumers,

blind and dull

as door jams.

I forget where I parked my car,

and almost desperately

search one row at a time.

And I find my beat-up, ‘92 Ford Tempo

at the end of the 5th row.

Some days I can’t walk into a mall

without being overwhelmed by the

mentality of war.

There is something blatantly

ostentatious, something

bellowing greed and arrogance,

that disgusts me!

On other days I am better.

I can come with my wife shopping for family

and friends, and be a regular guy.

Yeah, it must be the ganga, or the gloomy

dark Oregon day,

as I speed down the freeway for

home, like an army deserter

running from the front lines,

and more than happy to be one.

Requests To The Muse

Come rattle my cage.

I am in here somewhere

Washing dishes, doing laundry,

Or vacuuming the floor.

Arguing over what the local

News means by fair weather.

Lost in domestic pointlessness,

Which screams for worship

And souls to lynch

Come rattle my cage.

Prod me out of here.

Show me some hope,

A glimmer of anarchy.

Make me a poem to stop the

Deadening roar of the machine.

Still the rumble of complacency,

Battering down around me like

War mongering politics.

Hold me close with your true

And tough love.

Open my chest, eyes,

Ears and pineal gland.

Free the groin and the heart.

Stand me on a cliff overlooking

The Caribbean sea

And never let go of my hand.

Show me something, show me

Some hope, a glimmer of anarchy

Trip To Nowhere

Where I found answers I

could not find questions

for. The middle was not

in the middle but off

to the right side, positioned

like an open grave. Voices

spoke In English making

no grammatical sense. I

grabbed hold of

the edge

of something freezing and fierce,

which took off all my flesh up

to my elbow. There was no moon

or sun or stars or sky

only rain and movement all

around me like

speeding trains on

rusty tracks. No entrance, no

exit, no way of telling light

from dark. My bones

broke like pencils

against monolithic structures everywhere

I turned

and everywhere was nowhere

and somewhere was slaughtered with

no purpose and no direction.

Suddenly there was a sound like


of breaking windows,

smashing in echo chambers

over and over. I knew then, somehow, I had broken

through and that my bones would

heal, I would form new skin on

my arm, and the questions were something

in the middle once again. The moon, the

sun, the stars and the sky were

there too.


Doug Draime began publishing in "underground" newspapers and in the small press in the late 1960's. Most recent books include: "Slaves of the Harvest" (Indian Heritage Publishing, 2002), "Unoccupied Zone" (Pitchfork Press, 2004), "Spleen" an e-book (Poetic Inhalation, 2004), and forthcoming from Scintillating Publications "Spiders And Madmen. Mr. Draime lives in the foothills of the Siskiyou mountain range in southern Oregon, with his wife, Carol.

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