Donna Garrett © 2011 sehba_sarwar. All rights reserved.

8:20 PM


Location: VBB Art Car / Space Between
Artist: Donna Garrett

He can’t see stars for streetlights, dreams of heaven
Though pocket lint, pours his promise through liquor
Bottles to see the world beautiful, he has a
Stomach that burns like a church in Dixie,
Tattooed tear drops under his eyes
To remind him he’s always crying and memories
Of a crack and Krylon graveyard,
The sound of the second line to make him smile
And the agony of his neighbors screaming for help
After the hurricane

Poverty is an absentee landlord in a city of broken levees
An unholy pilgrimage from a city of bankrupt dreams
To a land of resentment and hollow promises
A 9mm in my face when his hunger pains overrule his logic
Our fears are different chapters of the same book,

I am afraid for my life he is afraid of his life, we both wonder
How this will end

He would be happy with the leftovers of my existence
The taste of sanity in the broken glass of a neighborhood
That used him for target practice
Heaven was in the emptiness of a street corner
The kiss of a little sister
That showed him love is not out of reach
But his fate was a trail of fire that burns his organs Cajun black
Reinforcing what he always knew, about himself
About New Orleans, about the world

I can only imagine what it was like

Four days of hunger
The summer sun burning his eyes raw
The stench of dead bodies he found familiar
Waiting, for a rescue that never came
And the hollow feeling of being turned
Away at gunpoint by sheriffs of Jefferson Parish
When he tried to cross the Crescent City Bridge
All he wanted was food

Hopelessness is not found in the pain
Of financial deprivation
But lost in the horizon of the unknown;
There is desperation in the arch of his shoulders
The cry of rage was in his throat
The only thing he can say with his gun drawn is
“I just want to go home”

And here I stand in a press shirt and slacks
That scream I don’t deserve this
He is not worthy of my sympathy and I should not
Be punished because an act of God destroyed everything he knew
Sympathy escapes through my sweat
Angry whispers cloud my logic and I hate him
For picking me to be an object of his pain

I can see remorse in way he stands
His gun can’t shield what
What his facial lines tell me
I have nothing left, I don’t feel safe here
Prison can be my home if it means I can eat and
The storm was an act of God but the way we have been
Treated since then makes me think God doesn’t exist
Emptiness is acid on our skin, we just want to go home

With each breath I quell the arrogance
That made me resent him
There is so silver bullet to silence
The monster of indifference
No messiah to turn the dirty water of
Lake Pontchartrain to wine
And the truth is he may never go home again

I tell him
I will give you my last dollar if you take my advice
Don’t let everything you had be everything you are
You are too much a man to fall pray
To the fool in you, and don’t let your desparation
Determine you destiny

Without a word he uses an inhale
To hold back his tears and puts his gun down
I give him the leftovers of my existence
He disappeared into the night, I went home
Leaving my fear behind having no regrets or anger
To cloud my vision

I go back to that spot sometimes
Looking for stars through streetlights
Reminding myself of how beautiful the world is
When you are not blinded the veil of self importance
I say a prayer for him hoping he realizes
Love is not out of reach, heaven can be found
In more than pocket lint and that the world can be beautiful
No matter where he calls home