Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sitting here in limbo

Sitting here in limbo, but I know it won't be long
Sitting here in limbo, like a bird without a song
Well they're putting up resistance
But I know my faith will lead me on
-- Jimmy Cliff

I wore out my vinyl copy of the soundtrack to the movie Harder They Come a long time ago. I just loved that movie, and think of it every time I accidentally punch up the opening to the TV show Cops, and flash back to a time when the opening theme song had an entirely different meaning.

My theme for today, however, isn't the anti-heroes of the 1970s. We are long past the days when their was anything romantic about the anti-heroes of this movie. The drug gangsters are gone from (for now), and good riddance.

This reggae spiritual is the sound track in my head as I sit here 1,200 miles and twenty years removed from my city and the aftermath of , replacing the unrelenting loop of Adagio for Strings that haunted me through September and into October, and was then replaced by the piece Requiem , a haunting piece of music originally composed by Eliza Gilkyson for for the victims of the Christmas tsunami.

Mother Mary full of grace, awaken.
All our homes and all our loved ones taken.
Taken by the sea.

Hear our mournful plea.

Mother Mary find us where we've fallen
Out of grace.
Lead us to a higher place.

If you can listen to this carefully without crying, check your pulse or the mark on the front of your house, cap, cause you're dead.

But now I read day after day about the seeming normality of life for those lucky few on what a WWOZ DJ referred to as "the sliver by the river", a town smaller than Fargo, N.D. where I sit writing this. And then I get an email from someone who's taken a series of photos of the rest of the city after dark, in the dark. I read about the latest post-K suicides here and here and ...

Congress passed a Katrina relief bill, but most of the $29 Billion went to FEMA or other branches of the federal government, which means that real people mostly will never see it. No one will step up to help pay $350 million to rebuild Entergy's infrastructure in the city, including the stockholders of the parent company who have been perfectly happy to harvest the profits in the past.

Congress adjourned without action on the Baker Bill, which would provide direct assistance to those who lost their homes. Without this bill, hundreds of thousands of Americans will have to pay out the mortgages on their ruined, worthless properties. Baker has promised to bring it back, but the people's House is adjourned until Jan. 31, meaning no action can begin before February.

The city's leaders can't seem to make a decision on how reconstruction should proceed, while the usual political factions bicker over where FEMA trailers should be place. The rest of the country seems to think we're too corrupt to take care of ourselves, so they're perfectly OK that we've suspended elections for the time being.

So, we're all left (well, I am at least) with Jimmy Cliff's voice echoing around in my head, in a mournful sort of way. Ah, but then, we have to remember, Sitting in Limbo was just one of the fabulous songs in that movie. And it was not the title song. This was.

Persecution you must bear
Win or lose you've got to get your share
Got your mind set on a dream
You can get it, though harder them seem now

You can get it if you really want

But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you'll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want - I know it
You can get it if you really want - though I show it
You can get it if you really want
- so don't give up now

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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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