Oxy in New Orleans
Solidarity, Not Charity

thoughts post Ninth Ward…a reflection

When we were staying in the Lower Ninth a week or so ago, I saw a dying butterfly. Nothing extraordinary, not immediately noticeable, but I was running and looking at the ground, so I saw it, in a puddle. I tried to help it out of the water so it could flutter off, but it was on its last legs, and flitted about in circles trailing insect guts; there was nothing I could do.

While it died there, unceremoniously on a street seldom scrutinized for dying insects, I kept running, perhaps feeling better knowing that I tried to save it. The experience resonates eerily, an echo of my uncertain existence as a ‘volunteer’ or ‘concerned citizen’ or ‘activist’ or whatever label one might choose. I wrote this as an evaluation:

so it seems my hands are mud but smaller without effect on
but holding on to
save remnants of that. or
I don’t know that. useless in my usefulness.
begrudged they say I think the word is
terminal. bayou sitting but this is terminal.
retreating; harsh and HOW DARE I WATCH,
lands not mine crumble, falter under my boots yet I stand?
I stand?
why.
the ground is screaming while I on soapbox stand.
people die standing up.
people.
die.
I’m here
why.

-Gladys Angle

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