The Triumph of Death

by angeliska on September 7, 2005

A few weeks ago, I was in the Prado-
standing in front of the apocalyptic juggernaut
that is Brueghel’s The Triumph of Death:

Little did I know when gazing upon it then that it would become
an illustration of the city I knew as my home.
The shock is ebbing slightly and being replaced by
rage and insurmountable grief.
I can’t seem to stop crying for my beautiful city,
and all of her inhabitants, now lost, scattered,
scarred and broken.
Trying to start over, but the entire process
is abhorrent to me right now.
I can’t sleep for bad dreams..
Never had a problem with insomnia
or nightmares before..
When you read a letter from a dear friend
who was stuck in New Orleans until a few days
ago, you’ll understand..
To anyone who believes that the
media portrayal of this is overblown..

“Just a note to say I’m alive.
I am extremely traumatized.
The anarchy, storm, flood water
and the smell of rot in the city
can not be put into words.
I am healthy except my stomach
is sick and my feet are
slightly infected from contaminated water.
My house is perfectly intact
and all the trees fell away from it.
The French Quarter from Canal
to Burgundy up to Poland Avenue is an island.
It is starting to smell like bodies
and birds are starting to flock.
We didn’t get water
in our neighborhood until yesterday.
I’ve become a pro at looting for food
and all the neighbors get together.
I am now outside Baton Rouge.
We had to siphon gas to leave and it was stressful
with all the down trees and lines, military and gangs.
People in our neighborhood are walking on the streets
with shotguns, axes, bats.
Houses are getting robbed
and buildings are getting blown up.
People are hot-wiring city buses
and running them into houses
People are getting shot over gasoline and water.
I don’t know who’s alive and who’s dead.
People from the neighborhood are taking canoes over
St. Claude and France area to pull people out of water.
There are dead Children on Canal Street.
Dog Packs are forming.
I am mentally having some problems.
People are getting raped.
New Orleans is the most scariest place on the planet
The cops are looting and drinking beer
riding on the back of cars with rifles
It’s under a police state.
They are shooting people and taking away our weapons.
We had a gun, ax, hooks, a staff, cleaver
and a few knives.
I will be able to respond but please don’t expect too
much from me right now.
I’m having a hard time in society.
I hope we can all return.
I may have more stories later when I can.
The government are idiots. They left us to die.
No-one ever take anything for granted.
I am grateful for a flushing toilet
We had to use buckets and
go to neighborhood pools to gather water.
I am grateful for ice
And for life.
there are still children there!
There are old people
People with their limbs rotting
people lying on the street on mattresses.
Yes this is the Bywater.
This was our home.

Meanwhile, here are some more choice
locations for real information, resources and musings:

Extremely Worthwhile Commentary:
From the Empire Burlesque

New Orleans Diaspora Contact List

She says what I don’t have words for:
Thank you for seeing and saying,

Shocking and Awful: An Excellent Newsource

There’s this for those that haven’t read it yet..

New Orleans Independent Media Center

And some good news..
Antoinette K-Doe made it out okay, thank heaven..

As did many other New Orleans musicians..
Most everyone we know and love got out, bit by bit-
although there’s a few that are still missing..
Miss Jane and Okra! Where are you?

Tomorrow night, if you find yourself in Austin
come to the Carousel Lounge (1110 E. 52nd St.)
to see A Particularly Vicious Rumor.

Beautiful Miss O.

Jai Bird (aka. Kid Twist)

These are the friends who saved my life when they
chose me (and a few other lucky ones) over their
music equipment. Go see them play on tour-
Their music will save your soul.

In Brueghel’s panorama of smoke and slaughter
Two people only are blind to the carrion army:
He, afloat in the sea of her blue satin
Skirts, sings in the direction
Of her bare shoulder, while she bends,
Finger a leaflet of music, over him,
Both of them deaf to the fiddle in the hands
Of the death’s-head shadowing their song.
These Flemish lovers flourish; not for long.

Yet desolation, stalled in paint, spares the little country
Foolish, delicate, in the lower right hand corner.

One comment

[…] ✸ The Triumph of Death […]

by Angeliska Gazette › Storms – 5 Years on August 30, 2010 at 1:48 am. Reply #

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