Saturday, September 13, 2008

Go Home Ike

A tow truck bearing a sign drives along the sea wall in Galveston, Texas September 12, 2008.

REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Sunday, August 31, 2008

164. Swollen Cotton

by Byron Bogard - Rhea's Mill, Arkansas

I'd been asleep for a long, long time before that
torrent of ice water woke me. One hundred and fifteen
years I had slept. The great old oak in St. Louis
Cathedral lay on the ground. Where Casius had asked
me about forever, there lay a bloated corpse wearing
one shoe and a plaid blanket.

I found Bourbon Street. Where they had marched me
down to an old jazz song about wandering saints, there
was nothing left but twisted signs and a cicadas
shedding last year's clothes on a pile of brick.

This city that kept me alive after sticking me in
the ground all those years ago, seemed dead. It
appeared the fires of Hell had taken up residence on
the mighty river. I could see the sins of so many
floating like demonic soot to be baptized in the

In despair, I wept. I feared this old city, this
place that had kept the sins and pleasures of so many
men since Acadia, had vanished; as if an over-ripened
ball of cotton had exploded into the sinews of this
great country.

One hundred and fifteen years ago I went to sleep
under the belly of this great land. I bore the guilt
and pleasures of annual harvests flowing like
riverboats down the Mississippi. I tasted the wine,
grain and gunpowder that seeped through the cypress.

I am awake now. The cicadid's shell hangs on a
swinging sign. We ask if you will still send your harvest.


Bourbon Street web cam, 8:30 a.m. this morning.

To New Orleans and the Gulf Coast: this humanists' prayers are going out to you in the face of Gustav and maybe Hanna, too. Best wishes for everyone's safety.

Podpoet, Hellicane founder.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hellicane heading to ... Burning Man!

Hey there Hellicane poets, and fans, the world over. This is Hellicane founder, PodPoet, with some great news about Hellicane for you. It has been a long time since there's been any new activity on the blog. But not for long! Before I tell you what lies ahead, let's look back over our achievements since Hurricane Katrina rolled ashore in September 2005 and Hellicane was born as a voice for poets everywhere affected by the tragedy:

-> Due to the powerful, moving works of the poets featured here, Hellicane was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution's Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. Congratulations to you all for that distinct honor.

-> In January 2007, Hellicane entered Second Life with a groundbreaking online "virtual" lecture on caused-based poetry websites and how they help with social expression/action.

-> On the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, two poems (below) submitted to the site kept the Hellicane spirit alive, "A hurricane named Katrina" by long-time Hellicane poet Roland Ruiz, and "A study of Sun Rays (Crespuscular)" by an anonymous poet.

So Hellicane has made it to the Smithsonian Institution and even found a way into Second Life. Well, in September, 2008 -- the three-year anniversary of the Hurricane Katina tragedy -- I am taking Hellicane where it has never been before: to Burning Man 2008 deep in the Nevada desert!

This year's Burning Man art theme is "American Dream." I quote from the Burning Man Web site, which calls on those coming to Burning Man 2008 to consider:
"In 2008, leave narrow and exclusive ideologies at home; forget the blue states and the red; let parties, factions and divisive issues fall away, and carefully consider your immediate experience. What has America achieved that you admire? What has it done or failed to do that fills you with dismay? What is laudatory? What is ludicrous? Put blame aside, let humor thrive, and dare to contemplate a larger question: What can America, this stumbling, roused, half-conscious giant, still contribute to the world?"
To answer this worthy call, I will select what I (and this blog's poets and readers, via forthcoming polls) feel are the most powerful Hellicane poets and images, create giant display boards from them, pack them into the back of my Toyota Prius, and, come the last week of September 2008, head north to the Nevada desert to bring Hellicane to Burning Man.

This will be a very personal journey for me, but I embark on it also for the hundreds of passionate voices that fill the pages of this blog. I will post to Hellicane periodically to let you know how the journey is going.

I welcome Hellicane poets who have the means to go to Burning Man 2008 to join me or at least come by, say hello, share your story.

I am also seeking a documentary film maker or videographer interested in documenting this bold new journey for Hellicane and its culmination at Burning Man. Email me if you're interested.

So there you have it. Hellicane lives on, and is headed to open minds, caring souls and new experiences in the Nevada desert.