Friday, August 24, 2018

Thinking about Hurricanes

I have hurricanes on the brain.  Part of the reason is Hurricane Lane, still on some sort of hard-to-predict path to Hawaii.  Part of the reason is that we're at important anniversary dates.  Yesterday in 2005, Hurricane Katrina formed.  Today in 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Homestead.  We're approaching the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey.

My writing time is short--but I am back to my writing space in the front bedroom.  Not much else is in the room but my desk.  There's an echoing quality in my typing.  I'm listening to NPR on headphones because the bed is just outside the open door--we're sleeping in the dining room for one more night.

I like the empty quality to this room--the way the floor is visible.  Part of me wants to give away everything that was once in this room so that we could keep it this empty--the guest room bed, the books, the shelves that held the books.  But that would be silly.  Wouldn't it?

I will refrain from writing about the fence repair.  I have hopes that even though the work crew thinks they're done, the fencing company will be here today to make things right:  the post that still needs concrete, the 1 3/4 inch gap in the front gate, the back gate with no way to lock it.

No, let me not think about hurricane repairs this morning.  Let me think about those in the path of Hurricane Lane.  Let me pray for the best for them.

And let me offer a poem. Paper Nautilus published my poem "What They Don't Tell You About Hurricanes," but I'm fairly sure that this title is not my original creation. I'm almost sure there's an essay with the same title in the wonderful book Writing Creative Nonfiction. The essay stays with me even now, the writer who bought his dream boat, only to see it destroyed by Hurricane Fran. I'd look it up, except that I don't own it.

So, here's the poem, all of it true, except for the reference to an industrial wasteland. I wouldn't have written it at all, except for the strange incident of weeping in the parking garage some 4 or 5 years after Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. The industrial wasteland is actually a water treatment plant, but I changed it for some dramatic impact.

What They Don’t Tell You About Hurricanes

You expected the ache in your lazy
muscles, as you hauled debris
to the curb, day after day.

You expected your insurance
agent to treat
you like a lover spurned.

You expected to curse
your bad luck,
but then feel grateful
when you met someone suffering
an even more devastating loss.

You did not expect
that months, even years afterwards,
you would find yourself inexplicably
weeping in your car, parked
in a garage that overlooks
an industrial wasteland.

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