Poetry from Katrina by Lyn Lifshin



Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary


he could not stop watching
the images of hurt and
crying children on TV.
Known as Grandpa Grady
the elderly man in his
River Ridge neighborhood
was sickened by the images,
was saying “ya’ll get those
children.” To calm him,
family members lied
and reassured him they
would rescue the children
he was seeing on TV.
But as the day wore on,
sounds grew quieter
and he stopped eating or
speaking. A nurse stopped
by but did not send him
to a hospital. Last Thursday
he died in a single bed
in a small room at the shelter.
“I think,” his daughter
said, he grieved him
self to death”



one woman arrived with
2 children, 6 and 2. “Soon
as I got there I saw fighting.
I saw people throwing
chairs, pull a gun out right
in front of little children.”
She saw a boy who could
not breathe, asthma or panic.
She pointed it out to one
police man she saw and the
officer checked the boy,
said there was nothing they
could do. The boy was dead.
Another officer appeared.
The others figured he would
remove the body but the
officer said it was just to
check some gun shots



almost this time of year,
the aspens crackling
the drive out from Boulder
up into the hills
Octoberly crisp.
Peanut soup in an
out of season restaurant.
The Rockies blue.
We were all at the
Denver Film Festival,
would never meet again
but that warm perfect after
noon, none of us could
have believed that



the watermarks 6 feet high,
visible on some houses.
Signs of life slowly are
returning with the trickle
of residents who’ve gotten
in to look at what is left.
It’s freaky, everything
just floated. I’m going to
spray it all someone says,
spray it down with Clorox.
“Look at my counter
tops. They were so pretty.”
“Water knocked my new
refrigerator over, my lovely
mahogany door. I spent
$13,000 this year on my back
yard. It was beautiful. Now
it’s a disaster but it’s a
fixable disaster.”



one man said, stretching
his arms and pointing to
a red t shirt, blue jeans
and a pair of slippers.
“we lost everything.”
But that’s not his
biggest worry. He has
not seen his wife, kids
or grand children since
last Saturday. He heard
they were in Baton Rouge.
One woman was nearly
hysterical Saturday
morning when friends
went to wash clothes.
“I want to go home,”
she yelped, “I can’t stay
here forever.” Volunteers
have few words of
comfort. “Reality really
hasn’t begun to sink
in for these people. They
are still in a state
of shock.”



one mother sat beside
her son, a 34 year old
paraplegic who had
been carried up eight
flights of darkened
stairs and evacuated
to the airport. Inside
the medic tent she
stroked her son’s fore
head. His arms were
curled to his chest. His
mother took a towel
from her bag of
belongings and put
it on his arms so he
wouldn’t get cold. “I am
not letting him out of
my sight” she said


Katrina by Lyn Lifshin

available from Small Press distribution (SPD) www.spdbooks.org

see more at www.poeticmatrix.com



Katrina by Lyn Lifshin


If you have attended to the news lately you know this is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that so devastated New Orleans and the gulf region.  In 2010 our press had the opportunity to recognize Katrina’s 5th anniversary by publishing Lyn Lifshin’s book of thoughtful personal poems, Katrina, about the people caught up in this most difficult experience.  These poems are so indicative of Lyn’s direct, personal style.  Lyn writes without embellishments so that the lives of the people can be seen. She is a master at this kind of direct, immediate poetry.

Katrina by Lyn Lifshin is available at our distributor Small Press Distribution (SPD) www.spdbooks.org. To see more on Lyn’s book Katina and her recent book that our Press has published, Malala, about the courageous recipient of the 2014 Noble Peace Prize for her work go to our website www.poeticmatrix.com.

See some of the poetry from Katrina by Lyn Lifshin at our Forever Journal.

Charles Entrekin and Gail Rudd Entrekin

The Art of Healing                                                                                                                                                           a new books of poetry on healing from cancer due out fall 2015                                                                                by Poetic Matrix Press


Something Coming

We are beginning to understand something
of what is coming, to go beyond sensing a shadow
in the woods watching us, and to see it take shape,
see it coming toward us across a field, zigzagging
as it does, now standing idle and watching the sky,
now heading directly for us at a trot. And realizing
that we are seen, that it will find us no matteru
what we do, we are slowing down.
We are
standing very still hoping to blend with the waving
greens of this raw springtime, to stay downwind
of it as warmer breezes pick up and buffet the leaves,
the grasses, tossing everything in a moving salad
of life; we sway on our legs, trying to move with the air
that surrounds us, and we stop thinking of what is around
the next bend in the path, stop planning our next
escape route, and begin to merge with the moment;y
we have slipped into a painting by Van Gogh
something is coming again across the fields and we
are open as sunflowers in full bloom
to these last moments on the earth.


Losing the Light

You’ve been thrown like a stone,
skipping across the surface of moments,
rings circling outwards
from where you have been,
knowing you are losing
the here and now.

Until you begin sinking,
seamlessly drifting down
and the world is still outside
in the growing distance.

But you are not drowning,
there is no pain,
there remains the ordinary day
all around you,
and so you ask,
what happened to the light?