Gulf Coast Towns Revisited

Before Katrina came

Before Colonel Sanders
Reinvented fried chicken
Only to be undone by the Cajun craftiness of Popeye

Before the wrong side
Of the tracks began
Driving on the right
Side of the road

Before the flush toilets and oil rigs
Made the wasteland of wetlands

Southern towns were
Eternal units of talk,
Vernacular musics,
Vibrant histories

All that’s gone
As if yesteryear’s wind
Turned towns into vacuums,
God’s little acres of blight,
Weathered backboards
For the sport of hit and run
Language among people
Too wet to pay attention.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
from his book The Katrina Papers
UNO Press, 2008

Used with permission of the poet.

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