Monday, August 29, 2011

One Year (8/29/06)

Posting an old piece, as today is K + 6...the Katrinaversary.

One Year (8/29/06)

10:25 a.m.

365 days ago right now I am
having a love/hate relationship
with the television
knees to chest on carpet
wrinkled pajamas
covered in layers of fur
from numerous refugee felines

I am still
optimistic because
the winds have changed
veered slightly to the east
slowed down
and passed through
with a roar
but without claws and teeth
not as hungry as she looked

The air is hot and damp
in Mississippi
but my eyes are still dry
I am not yet changed completely
not yet witness to the winds
that would tear the shutters
off the house
across the street
while I watched

Much later I would be
in the dark
in more ways than one
and when the shock rolled in
its waves would carry me north
instead of south
uprooted like the
fallen along the empty street

Copyright © 2006 Melissa Lewis

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I seem to be taking a lot of flack from friends since yesterday’s quake rocked the East Coast. Here I am visiting friends and family in Northeastern Pennsylvania and enjoying NOT being in the heat in NOLA for a change, and suddenly there’s an earthquake.

Personally, I didn’t feel a thing, although friends of mine did. It’s unlikely I would have noticed anything, as I was wandering around the Harford Fair with a high school pal of mine, and any rumbling of the earth that we might have felt was mostly likely camouflaged by the tractor pulls going on behind us.

Now, with Irene skirting up the East Coast, the berating continues. My reputation as the Harbinger of Doom is not intentional, though it’s not entirely unwarranted either. In 1972, the year after I was born, the Northeast got creamed by Hurricane Agnes. In the late 90s, after moving with a friend of mine into a small town in Northeastern PA, an F3 tornado tore through the area, leaving a path of destruction a half-mile wide. In May of 2001, I moved to New York City and several months later was watching one of the towers fall from the corner window of my midtown office building. In June of 2005 I moved to the Big Easy, and…well...we all know how that story ended.

I can see where these coincidences are perhaps a little…eerie. But I’ve never really destroyed anyplace I’ve simply been VISITING rather than living. So for now, at least, can you people please stop trying to run me out of town? I’m leaving next week anyway, so you can all stop offering to come over and pack my bags for me. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

I sweat, therefore I am.

And that is pretty much what summer in New Orleans feels like. I feel like I’ve done nothing blog-worthy in months. And really I haven’t. Okay, so there was Mardi Gras, and St. Patrick’s Day, and friends visiting, and my 40th birthday celebrated in my favorite bar. Maybe it’s not that I haven’t done anything blog-worthy, but that really, at heart, I’m just a lazy piece of shit.

It does feel like the last few months have been spent doing nothing but sweating. Working from home is nice, but I miss my central air in my old apartment. When I’m not working, I’m either twiddling my thumbs waiting for my clients to pay me, or I’m out somewhere causing a disturbing amount of damage to my liver.

Most of the time I feel living in New Orleans is like being on a permanent vacation from which I have to take a break every now and then to do some work. But right now I need a break. Our heat indexes started topping 100 as early as June, and this month has included at least a week of excessive heat warnings and heat indexes ranging from 110 to 115. This week is slightly more bearable, as it feels like it’s only about 100 during the day.

I’ve already postponed one trip home this summer because of deadlines and late payments. I plan on taking that trip this week, up to cooler climes in northeastern Pennsylvania, to family and friends and mornings on my mother’s porch drinking coffee.

Of course, I’m making this trip right about when hurricane season is starting to pick up, so there will be no unplugging from my constant surveillance of the dozen or so weather Web sites I keep vigil over every year from June 1 to November 30.

But for now, I have nothing to complain about. I’m just looking forward to my trip home. In two weeks, I’ll really be looking forward to my trip back to NOLA. For now, I just really needed to remind myself what it feels like to put words to page. Because, in the end, words are really all I have.