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 email@example.com
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
Come rattle my cage.
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.