Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Great Disturbance: Buy a Book, Help Those in Need

46º ~ chilly start to the day, warming up, finally some sun and 24 hours with no predicted severe weather, thank you, universe!

I know this may sound hokey, but when I woke this morning to the news of over 180 people dead from our outbreak of severe weather here in the south and southeast, I couldn't help but think of Obi-Wan Kenobe: "I felt a great disturbance in the Force."  I am devastated and sad and mourning.  Especially for the dead and their loved ones, but also for the huge swatch of destruction.  Many people have lost their homes and all of their possessions.  Once again, I feel a bit helpless and hopeless in the face of a natural disaster.

The only good I can do from here is to give money to reputable organizations.  So: I'm offering this deal through May 7.  Buy a copy of Blood Almanac directly from me and 100% of your money will go to the American Red Cross.  While I don't have a PayPal account in place, I'll be glad to accept a check in the mail.  To purchase, email me at: sandy dot 40 dot longhorn at gmail dot com.

And to sweeten the pot, I'll match every purchase with the same amount in a personal contribution.  The cost is $14 (I'll cover postage).  If you already own a copy, consider buying one for a friend. 

That means, for every purchase, $28 will go to the Red Cross.

As many of you know, tornadoes make frequent appearances in my poems.  Here are two: the first older and in Blood Amanac, the second newer and just published in Escape Into Life.

On the Great Plains’ Eastern Edge

People here don’t dream of falling, but the opposite
of falling, the drying up and being blown

across the far-flung horizon during months of drought
when topsoil embeds itself in every surface —

sheets hung on the line to dry, shut eyelids,
hair up in a braid, firmly clamped lips —

when even good roots can’t hold and there’s no water
left in the well to wash it all clean.  Every year

when the twisters come there’s a new story
about your grandmother’s neighbor pulled from sleep

and shaken like a tablecloth before being dropped
in the family plot to rest beside her husband,

dead these twenty years, or the minister and his wife plucked
from the closet where they huddled clutching the Bible

and each other and set down without a scratch
in the yard, not even a ripped page to show for it.

When the rains do come, by God’s own grace
and after a dozen farmers are dead from self-inflicted

gunshot wounds or a noose swung over the hayloft’s beam,
those who remain dream of the swelling up, the washing

away and slow drowning — a different kind of falling.
Our bloated bodies come to rest in the muck

of gray-green lakes.  The silt makes room,
shifts in the gloom and the bluegills come, curious,

the pike, resilient, to nibble at cotton fibers,
spitting out buttons and clasps to get at the heavy, rotting flesh.

(Originally appeared in Hotel Amerika; then Blood Almanac)

Cast out by rough winds and a roar
louder than his father’s voice,
the boy emerged unscarred—

though the frame house shattered
in the hands of a vengeful God.

Orphaned in the aftermath:

the father-body carried off
and buried in a field of debris,

the mother-body, already
a two year absence before the wind,

the boy collected her journals
and stacked them in a leather satchel,
carrying her heavy scrawl

from prairie town to cities on the river.

With one hand on her words, one fist
threatening God, and a voice
packed with his father’s rage,

he could collect the clouds and fling
the funnels far from any home.

(Originally appeared in Escape Into Life)


Be safe, my friends.


Kathleen said...

What a good thing to do, Sandy. My friend Kim's daughter just raised $200 for Japan. Kim has a tornado poem in her blog today, Hummus Anonymous. (Baseball woman, too.)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Kathleen. I'll check out Kim's blog.

Already have one purchase, so that's $28 to start!

Molly said...

Sandy, what a nice thing to do. The devastation down south is hard to take in. Reminds me that none of my "problems" are actually problems.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Molly!