Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the Spirit Broke

Most of you have heard the saying that time heals all wounds. To that person, I say this: That's total B.S.! When Miles, a dear friend died two years back my wounds were neglected and hidden behind my happy-go-lucky persona. As time passed, the wounds became infected and pretty soon my inner levees were breached. All of my pain, despair, rage, and tears damaged my insides and almost destroyed my sanity. Several months later, I lost another friend to lung cancer. Like Miles, I only knew this fellow through the world wide web. A virtual pen pal. I've made great strides in healing from those two major losses, but I'll never be the same. On the morning of the two year anniversary of Miles' passing, I finished watching ''When the Levees Broke'' the HBO documentary on Hurricane Katrina. One of the survivors, Phyllis Montana-Leblanc, read a poem she wrote ''Not Just The Levees Broke'' (The same title of her memoir. Amazing read, by the way). By the end of her poem, I was sobbing hard. She captured the horror and despair she experienced during and after Katrina. In a very strange way, I can relate to her story and how she glued the broken pieces of her life. My levees are ready for any storm coming my way. I only hope the the levees in New Orleans are just as strong.

Not Just The Levees Broke
By Phyllis Montana-Leblanc
Not just the levees broke
The Spirit broke, my spirit
The families broke apart (I want my momma, my sister, and my nephew back home)
The auction block broke from so many African-American bodies
The sense of direction was broken because of the darkness
There was light from time to time, but they broke away and left us
My being together broke when I fell apart
The smell broke away from my skin when I came out of the waters
The waters that came and stood still, with the bodies of my people, the dogs, shit and piss, rats, snakes and "heard of " alligators
The broken smiles, the broken minds, the broken lives
And you know something?  You wanna know something?  Out of all of this brokenness, I have begun to mend
With God, my deep, deep commitment to infinite strength and to never give up
I am mending
I am coming back.
God willing, for a long, long time
So, when you see the waters
When you see the levees breaking
Know what they really broke along with them...

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