Tuesday, September 2, 2008

cracks and splits.

My mind is cracking open, like an egg.

Baton Rouge took a beating. And our house is one that dodged the punches. Some ways it's been described: Eerie. Navy sky is illuminated by the hospital a block down the street. The hospital glows orange. The sky looks navy. Everything else is pitch black. The only sounds are crickets and a generator running in the house across the street. The generator roars like the engine of a lawnmower. Listen - that groan/roar and crickets together, nothing else.

Once, earlier today, a convoy of ambulances, lights swirling, drove down an otherwise empty street to the hospital. I know this because I asked, if, like during Katrina, the sound of helicopters overhead is present. The sound of helicopters had made Katrina sound like how I imagine war in Bosnia or anywhere else that war is real and not on TV. But, no. c. says it's just convoys of ambulances. And if you ask me, that is also warlike in it's own way - like a funeral procession with twirling, flashing, harsh lights. Reports of people dying in their houses when trees fell through the roof is what c. says. It looks bad, he tells me, and that we are really, really lucky, because so many of our neighbors and friends are not. It is the wind that got us. Terrible high speed winds. Houses split in half, literally split through the roof down to the ground, straight through the middle, by hundred year old live oaks. Water oaks. Pine trees. Pecan trees.

He emphasizes. He says, it will take days just to clean up the mess of our yard, and we didn't even get any damage. And selfishly, or perhaps longingly or simply with attachment, I hoped my two baby cypress trees, newly planted, stayed firm in the ground, supported by the way I'd staked them. But I doubt it. And I didn't want to ask because I didn't want the answer. What's a crooked tree when your house is split in two? Or has a tree leaning against it.

Ruby is lying next to me having a nightmare right now. Wimpering in her sleep, so I can tell it's not a good dream.

I have to workshop a story next Tuesday. I'll be the first in my class to have a workshop (to be ripped apart). And that is really scary. I didn't want to go first, but I didn't speak up soon enough to get a middle-of-semester date. And when I had to pick between first and last, first seemed better. I just began something new - about, what else? hurricanes, ghosts, grieving, chaos, water, drowning. But I can't write as fast as my thoughts come, and so I think I'll not be able to workshop that one until the second part of the semester (I've got to get the piece to everyone by Saturday). Most likely I'll workshop the story that maybe should be a novel, the widower story that got me into school and still needs a whole lot of work.

I got terribly homesick today. Sad in my gut and I felt I wanted to cry and to be in baton rouge. I didn't even know the havoc Gustav had reeked on that red stick. maybe it was a sixth sense. we got it worse this year than we did with Katrina. These are some of the things I know.

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