That rain out there sounds like applause. The leaves and traffic, scattered grass and monogrammed concrete are all performing stunningly tonight. An encore suggests the city listeners are appreciative. The ones with the box seats are the poets, the fearless squirrels latching onto plaid-pattered screens, pigeons with slippery wings and breath of barbecue steam. Deep inside that puddle beneath your window, a curl floats like an emaciated tugboat. Engine of railroad lineage. Propeller curves and footnoted presence in books and dream sequences. This does not have to be a tragedy. Nor will there be a prologue or feast of sequels. Each storm is its own language. Also inside that puddle is a limb. Cannot call it arm or third of leg. It is collaged and hungry, sipping on rainwater from imaginary straw made of molecular mosh-pit. There is a table of contents decoupaging the skin. How lovely how odd how wet this all is and then clothes come off because synthetics leave too many imprints and reminders of factories. The earth desires nudity, so it drenches; it floats umbrellas away from wrists and curled fingertips. This should be a performance. This should induce romanticism. We should be triggered by its miasmic reminder of the last time.

a loot of land (mass/ive)

What has happened?

The clouds are resembling humans today, growling in the sky, pushing and intimidating their way across the rooftop of earth.

There is desperation to get out of here, move from one borough to another, leave darkened homes for well-lit ones. Buses are combusting. Limbs are punching others in order for a seat.

So, you made it over the Manhattan Bridge, but you are bleeding now and hurt another whose name you never learned and what’s the rush?

So, you swept up the shelves with your greedy hands and stole a bottle of pills to quiet the hurricane of rust inside your body and now you hoard the capsules like secret passwords and maybe you’ll sell each one or will you swallow and does it matter how you broke your way in?

So, you want to help restore the mass of overthrown buildings and buried car parts, then deliver your blood/ then deliver your excess/ your collection of sneakers/ your heavy coats/ your time/ your time/ there is so much time now…

So, the oil has spilled once again and Staten Island is crying and Staten Island is dying and 300,000 gallons swims over the humans washing ashore and who is to blame for this one?

I want to understand why we behave like monsters when weather pushes us the wrong way. Wind chokes away our luxuries, so we loot…so we loot…so we turn our bodies into hurricanes and we storm and we storm. Still, we consume. We consume. We binge on preservatives because we cannot go a day without eating. We photograph our suppers and brag about our living rooms. And we forget and we forget some people lost everything. Some people lost people. Some people are missing. Some of us are missing. But please tell me about your feast. We can forget about the homes, amputated. We can look past the woman swimming in the flood. We can forget about the woman who is mourning the loss of her greatest love. We can forget. We seem to be good at that.

an aftermath of color

What is found outside are car alarms collapsing into sound. An eerily glimpse of sunlight and bird chirp and shadow casting of branch against small rooftop and leaf shimmy and church bell.

What is also found are the wanderings of water with no other place to go than haunt the tunnels and potholed streets and unconscious tree stumps.

When light is taken away, what is left. What may be plucked from the darkness.

*shapes of candle flickers
*tracing laughter with tongue and fingertips
*making love or masking love or marking loath
*words stuck onto unseen walls with spit and torn books for when the light arrives again

* * *

Sirens have been consistent throughout this storm. All this wind. All this name-dropping. Sandy. Sandy. Sandy. When will the humans be allowed underground again, Sandy. Where did the homeless ones go if you’ve added to that number and the shelters are full. Where are we putting them, Sandy? Everyone keeps talking about the food they are cooking, the food they are eating, the food they are stuffing up their full bodies and I wonder how many welcome mats no longer have a porch to nap on. And I wonder how many photographs got washed away.

A woman in Staten Island gives birth as the death toll rises to 50. A new baby fits inside the palm of a young mother’s hand while funerals are planned with no way of getting there.

People wander streets mourning the dead, mourning the corpses left in the street, held captive by police tape.

Say a prayer. One you’ve never practiced before. One you’ve been saving for a time like this. Say it twice. Keep saying it. Stick it into the ground like a rooted seed. Wait for it to grow into something. Like a new house. Or a sturdy bridge. Or a roof. Or a fourth wall. Or a staircase. Or a walkway back to the city that never sleeps that may need a nap after all this…

wind advisory for a tree

Gather your flashlights, candles, batteries, blankets.
Gather your bottles of wine, bottles of pills, push bottles away from windows.

Find enough water to fill your bathtub.

Stay away from your windows.
Stay away from the water.
Stay away from the wires blowing, pulling, sparking.

Publicize all your photos.
Illuminate your suffering.
Compare life to an apocalypse.

As we stay inside our various-sized homes during a hurricane, many of us worry over very different things.

Some may be fearful over losing electricity, internet, the ability to watch the neon haunt of their television screen.

Some may be worried for their babies, children, dogs too fearful to pee outside in this.

There are those that are worried over their property, flooded basements, drowned cars, inability to get to their manicure appointment in the morning.

On day two (or three, if you count the prepping of fear), what I worry about is a tree. The one outside my window with roots of burnt brown and tips of red, green, orange, yellow. Branches so skinny, you could not imagine enough power to withstand this wind. And yet…and yet….there may be strength found even in the gaunt.

Last night, I watched the wind gain power. 30 mph towards 40 and 50. In some areas, it reached 80 miles per hour. This tree, too grandiose to be named, blew closer to my window. There were moments I felt I could touch it, had I opened my window. Had I ignored the rules to leave everything closed and locked.

It bent and swayed. Some leaves were pulled off. Some drowned in the flooding below. Some leapt toward the green fence below and survived the water.

I can locate with my eyes a long branch reaching in various directions. It did not survive. At least twelve people in New York did not survive this. More than fifty homes in New York did not survive this. What does it mean to survive this?

As I write, I watch the sky exchange color palette of grey white white to blue white blue. Clouds are pressed firmly against each other and dancing toward another direction. Who is leading? Cumulo-nimbus or cirro-stratus? And now the blue is getting upstaged by the grey and the wind bullies the tree, pressing it toward the ground. The wind wants the steal this tree’s lunch money. The wind wants to pickpocket wallets out of homes. This wind cannot be trusted.

What does it mean to survive all this?