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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Lauren Camp

Lauren Camp
What is Ceaseless or Drowning
(Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac, August 2012)
In the photos on Facebook, the ground
appears heavy. Homes midstream of
an intersection; some road nearly a platform of mud
under a secure sun where water
has completed the streets, where clouds tuck
back into houses. A landscape of sunk sidewalks,
of rapid-fire rain clicking against windows
and wending, decaying as it finally settles. My sister
is trapped inside a condo, but that isn’t
what bothers. It’s not her, or the hurricane. It’s the hour,
the empty of looking, the clamor of mousing
around in images all night, feeding on details
of a hungry sky-mouth I can’t do anything about.
On the screen, plenty of symbols and scenes to remind
of the movement of water, the motor
of nature, and the driver: the wind. I did nothing
but refresh and click forward, refresh
on the news. I did nothing at all, just looked
at the subsoil of storm water from Isaac that will stream
into memory and multiple flashbacks of water
replacing horizon, water in all conversation. Isn’t it
obvious I’m easily dazzled by disaster, but
if it were my house going under, would I cower,
would I envelop myself in myself? Sure, some pack hope
in cardboard boxes; drive away. Some return matted,
nearly erased. We each pick an emotion, and listen
or argue as tragedy calls us by name. Though I fear
I’d become submerged in the ruin, I’d probably
be all cadence and muscle, all flutter-kick when faced
with a body of water outside my front door —
it’s the uncertainty that puts me in peril;
it is this that upends me.
Lauren Camp is the author of This Business of Wisdom (West End Press) and a forthcoming collection, The Dailiness (Edwin E. Smith). Honors include The Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award, residencies with the Gaea Foundation and the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, and juror for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Her poems have appeared in J Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Linebreak and other literary journals. She has also guest edited special sections for World Literature Today (on international jazz poetry) and for Malpaís Review (on the poetry of Iraq). She produces and hosts “Audio Saucepan,” a global music/poetry program on Santa Fe Public Radio, and writes the poetry blog Which Silk Shirt.


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