Poetry by Steve Dalachinsky: the surge (hurricane sandy)

1. before the surge – cut up from newscasts

it’s brutal out here

i feel like thousands of small knives

are cutting through me

nothing but white sea foam flying

all over

as far as my eyes

can see

the main road has been abandoned

everything is eerie, ghostly


curiosity seekers


what kind of mentality is this

it’s not good

bringing out cameras  kids

& dogs

taking photos with wide angle lenses

cameras clicking away

they think this is art

i know we are safe

what makes you so sure

living in n.y. makes me think we are


if you can take photos safely

we’d like you to send them to


heed the warnings  stay out of danger

if we are wrong you can come right back

if you are in a safe place stay there

& stay indoors

if you are in zone A or zone B

evacuate as soon as you can

this afternoon a jogger was struck by a twig

& got injured

if the crane collapses

it will be like a knife cutting through butter

penetrating the ground

we will have incredible explosions

of gas pipes

it’s hard to believe

never seen anything like this before

our transit system & salt water do not get along

it’s a scary scene out there

this is nothing to be trifled with

no one WE repeat NO ONE

should remain OUTDOORS


the time for re-location is over

there is nothing here

except a disturbed & wavy jet stream

so we have to stay


2. the surge begins – (cutup from newscasts)

it was getting bad

now it’s getting real bad

look @ times square it’s a ghost


the brutal power of mother nature

is proof enough for our eyes

it’s like a time-lapse camera

getting worse everywhere before our eyes

smashing all n.y. records

it’s a storm about a surge

somewhere as the surge mounts

a clock is ticking

we have never seen waves

like this EVER     we are scared

it’s hard to digest all that’s happening

as all these elements converge

we are right in the BELLY of the STORM



the SUN has SET

the WATER has RISEN.


3. within the surge


the ocean devours its spawn

the rivers overflow

what kind of reality is this

red hook is sinking

cameras hipsters dogs



homes / possessions

breezy point sinking

broad channel

coney island

the rock-aways

spring street

ave c

all sinking

in chelsea archives & art being


storage gone

art galleries flooded

ice cream melting

i walk outside my apartment every 15 minutes

though we are cold &

in the dark from where i stand one would never know

that so many lives so many possessions

are being lost so many hopes sinking at this very



water gurgle a bass moan


of tree (bird)

where did she go – bird

rhythm asymmetric

baby/cry mimicry / trommmpeta

proses’ lean smell

wolf hound kitten soft omitting useless


a swelling of the shoreline


working all day support systems

comprehensive instruction/regions

careful miscellany

banquo’s drunken dunked-in jones

water-burgled footholes

helped the organ diver landlocked excellorator

ouched with impressive amount of harmonious

lack in the zone where Smitty battles his privacy

truth both body & mind

where the correct amount of space

has been provided incorrectly

& where you i they exhibit a lack of interest

in our professions

yet where so many brave others

dare to TREAD.


4. after the surge –


a. back to life

for an hour his saxophone saves

us & 2 good steaks

phone works  / gas works

battery operated radio & cd player

music always works

no longer a desert

times square becomes our temporary


returning home

the bus leaves us at the edge of darkness.


b. the river

a flock of birds swoop low across the


there is a strange prolonged near-frozen


amongst a deep grey clump of clouds

moving from west to east

skyscrapers on the jersey side

have a white bright sheen where the invisible sun

hits them

the tide is much lower than usual

the area nearly deserted

almost icy cold

my nose drips

gulls & debris

drift on the water’s


a barge & cruise ship pass

each other in the oncoming night

the freedom tower seems as always

shackled by its own materiality & lack of


a lone sparrow swoops up from the nowhere

of the waters & almost smashes into my


i leave as the frieze itself leaves.


c. a quick synopsis

power back after 51/2 days

disabled seating for priorities only

430 a.m.

the radio goes on

tv on

lights on

try to kiss wife get rejected

(my) power diminishes after 5 minutes

priority disabled hum veeeees

missed all

made 3 collages by candle/flash light

eating steak by candle light in a tenement apt

first thing discovered after power is back

one quietly struggling little mouse

caught in a glue trap

beneath the fridge

though not a christian

i cross myself sloppily 5 or 6 times

continually apologize to it

as i bring it down to the side yard

& toss it into a garbage can

hot water back

but no heat

marathon    no   marathon





radio (Fidelio)