The floodlights lit the street dimly,even more dim and fuzzy since I came from the pub…
After work then spending 10 hours at the relief hub only a few glasses of black foam would stitch me right,it also helped to forget everything I had seen in the past few weeks.
So making my way home a black detectives car creeped behind me as if I wouldn’t notice on abandoned disheveled streets,normally they would just tale me to wherever I landed and drive off…
This time two glorious blue and white squad cars finally decided to pinch me into a fence for some good old NYPD chat and frisk..
With a big black dong Maglite in my face
“So you coming from the bar or you down there with those shithead Occupiers?”
A little of both officer just making my way home..
“Says on your I.D here you lived over by the avenue”
I did but after at the moment I am heading to a freinds house where I am staying
“You seem to spend a lot of time on the avenue with those freaks,your a big shot eh?”
“So all you do is just give stuff to people and food,sounds like bullshit”
Well people need since well nobody else just a shit about anyone around here
“We give a shit about you sewer rats around here that’s why we watch you go from here to there..gas cans and bullshit sneaking around you don’t have a home anymore,you don’t exist..you might as well just crawl in a fucking hole because these neighborhoods don’t matter to anyone”
Are we done officer? I am going to miss my train,thank you for your caring words
Everything that had transpired in the past month went nuclear inside my chest..
I wiped the tears from my face as i got off the train into the glare of a buzzing black and gold neon sign then aimed for that beacon.The bartender gave me two pints up front on the house because of all the whispers in the bar.
My phone rang and we planned on how to feed 400 more people that weekend.
It’s just another story,
To whom it may concern,
It has been a pretty long year by most standards.. as you can guess since you are reading this the universe has decided to let stay a bit longer,she has a funny way like that.This time last year the streets were filling salt water,people were running for their lives,electric boxes were exploding everywhere…very third world through the streets of NYC neighborhoods.This year families will be lining the coastline with candles in celebration for themselves and their neighbors.The lights on the shore are a testament to what was and what is now daily life of the average family in these neighborhoods,they will stand together because of the lessons learned..all that is left is us.
This city abandoned it’s own people when the water rushed in and when help was needed most this awakened many people to a very ugly fact…the greatest city in the world gives not one fuck for it’s citizens unless they can profit off of you.
Neighbors helped each other rebuild homes and bonds that were forgotten about,selfless people came from everywhere to fight..and after a year,yes a full year later people are still coming to the trenches to battle.
This story is my story wrapped in the storyline of every family along these shores.
I am just a word in the long book of toil people have come to know.
New and old friends who are still here,I am the one honored to know and work with them..the others can pretend I died in the waters..
My neighbors gave me an award last weekend for saving her families life,I saved other peoples lives and they never knew my name which I am more comfortable with..back into the shadows I’ll go.
thanks,solidarity and love to everyone who gave their time,kind words,inspiration,mutual aid and themselves..
these stories are far from over and battles are far from remotely won
Just ask,I will be there
Tá sé ar fad an troid céanna, suas na reibiliúnaithe,
I have not written in some time,I write my own story every second of the day to others
Adding to the mesh fabric of their story
For better for worse to wear
We are all the authored adorned penned lyric
Waiting to be hummed silently
To Whom It May Concern,
I was perfectly fine in the back shadow of the room with a great squad of people knowing me personally from putting in work and from hanging around in certain circles…so excuse my ramblings,soapboxes,crying in my drinks and being loud and noisy.
My issues have turned into subscriptions.
No one knew where my neighborhood was nor did half of New York for that matter..now a little over a month later I have become an urban legend,the neighborhood has been gentrified by the ocean,stepped on by every so called city office and trampled on by the NYC marathon.
Tourists including the National Guard snap pictures whilst families dump their lives into the street as Red Cross trucks can be heard in ice cream trucks announcing hot food which might as well just say,”Bring out your dead”.If you think I am trying to paint a grim picture..trust me when I say I do not even have the colors it would take to portray how dismal the scenes are.
Ever see the end of Pink Floyd’s The Wall? Now take that then place your family along with a uncountable amount of families it could come close but minus the soundtrack…
My story is part of the whole book regardless of how many recounts of the tale is told,it’s brilliant when people on the ground talk about..”Yeah,I heard all about that..the three woman,the kids..they never found that guy,right? or,”He swam up,grabbed the S family then died.”
I say nothing until I am called out directly on it and can’t back out of the conversation,it scares me more now to even look at in hindsight so we won’t rehash the bullshit.
The actions I took during Hurricane Sandy to help other were not heroic at least to me..I can’t take a compliment no less take spotlight in the midst of a horrible event
it was nothing more than direct action that most of us have seen on the streets.I only had to impliment it in 20 feet of water instead of in front of gangs of uniforms.
The support for myself/family has been overwheming ..we can not even express the gratitude in words.
My mother cries the happy Irish mother tear when I show her posts from everyone online or when people stop her in the street,peoples homes were being looted and someone broke into my house and left clothes for my nieces and nephews.This is where the true heroics are,in the days then weeks plus as I type this nonsense right now.
Occupy Sandy,Anonymous,teachers,firemen and grassroots charities were on the ground running before any so called emergency disaster agencies even decided what dress they wanted to wear to the disaster ball,people who can’t even help themselves on a daily basis whom lost everything they’ve ever known were now wide awake to the fact these entities were not coming to the party so they themselves took matters into their own hands.
Families became their own power alongside their neighbors to step up the way NYC neighborhoods used too with the rules of the streets,your neighbor has your back.
The average person in these neighborhoods lost everything and it rehumanized them moving them into action.
I have met people from Texas,Ohio,South Carolina,Australia and every part of the Tri-State area before one single FEMA person showed up to hand me a damn phone number to call..so what does that say for any of these offices in power who get paid you know to handle this sort of thing?
It says plenty when the price of one drone can salvage whats left of these neighbohoods in what’s supposed to be the greatest city in the world…
People are awakening to this fact and to me that is more heroic when standing knee deep in what used to be your life,that far outweighs anything I have done.
But am I well at this point?,Not really..no one is who knows the screams muffled by transfomers exploding all around with green flashes in the dark..
I was mental before any water decided to come for a visit so the juggling of this everyday with unwell family,keeping my boots on the ground to help people then returning to a pathetic job who now know what I do in my off time plus adding a whole lot of comma’s and and’s to things has pretty much taken it’s toll on me..
My noise may settle down a bit
You may not hear from me so often
but know I will still be boots on the ground or however I can help someone in need
Shine a light or reach me somehow
I always answer
Everyone one of you brilliant people,
The beauty is there even in the piles of old lives in the streets
lives being born through the chaotic rub
more muses for me with blinking traffic light churches
if I don’t view it as a poet,I will crack with the wood under the heavy truck tires
crushed by crushes
new love under flood light
this may have always been a third world afterall
and if not
it most certainly is now
home is where ever I found it
in a park
stumbling through a train stop in Drogheda
linked arm in arm against bankers
the dust and rotting smell is the new normality for the lot of us
I ran from the neighborhood as quick as I could
I’m done running
unless you count me running back to help it mend
As little kids we played at the edge of the tide and squealed as the tide carried the sand along with our feet back out to sea,no one was prepared
to watch the tide carry an entire neighborhood with it inland,these were not cackling children
these were adults carrying children running as the tide chased them up the avenues and sidestreets carrying cars surfing the waves in the front yards
The Coast Guard who had boats at the ready with military vehicles were no where to be seen when the full moon reared it’s pull onto the earth
By the time I reached the stalled out caravan with kids inside,the water pressure held the doors closed fish tailing it against a telephone pole
I sent my last famous photo out and jumped up to the sun roof with another neighbor to pry it open
as we opened it the car kicked over speeding into the flow of the water flinging us both into the water which was now carrying us up the street through screaming people tryinging
to get to loved ones
I carried a crying grown man through the street away from the tide but it was not ending,raging water with wailing people dodging projectiles
By the time I had reached my house the furniture was floating,appliances crashing around my mother
I cut the power
Have you ever tried to fight an Irish mother when safety is involved,I don’t suggest it
Within minutes the living room was adrift along my chest so to higher ground we went
Where the water was going to stop,we were not sure and I could not even process my thoughts through the explosions of transformers and neighbors screaming
There was nothing but screams for hours as I watched the water rise to the height of the streetsigns then the streetlights
No sign of any authorities just neighbors doing what they can for other neighbors even if it was sending them into the tide toward higher streets away from power lines
By 11:30 the screams did not subside expect there were louder ones across the street,I shined a flashlight and feared the worst
and I was right
3 woman,one a disabled amputee and a teen were gasping for breath out of a bungalow as if they we getting air from an overturned lifeboat
i shined a light and yelled,’Cmon you Irish lasses you got this” and the more i watched the more I realised they did’t have it nor will they
My mother looked at me and said you’ll never make it back in a brooding brogue,I smirked..so we watch this then?
She left the room and the discussion was over
I watch the cars float through the streets front bumper down waiting for them to pass with the waves
being on the second story one would think I had to jump into the freezing ocean that was covering the neighborhood
All I had to do was step out the window and push off the house like a gold medal run
The swim was rough with all the debris but I used it to stay afloat as I reached the woman,I grabbed the youngest daughter up to the roof first and without hesistation
she broke the attic windows grabbing anything dry and warm to cover themselves with then helped me pull up the unresponsive grandmother
Her mother being a bigger woman was much harder to get on top of the makeshift bungalow roof and now being in freezing water and now high wind
Finally getting up the pitch of the roof and helping them wrap themselves with the blankets and their body heat
I had to break the sad news to them
There were no boats,there was no help and now it was up to themselves to stay alert and warm..there was no one coming
Kaitlin asked me,”Now how are you getting back,are you going to swim again?’
I was now feeling the effects of the weather,wind and realization
and how the fuck was I going to back it to that window soaking wet,heavy with water and drained
I laughed fearfully, looked at her and said Gernonimo and jumped back towards my house which might have been 3 miles away…
At this point I am still swimmimg in the aftermath beyond the storm,the clean up,the stories
this opera is the strength of a community not just me and it is only the first act