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It’s After the End of the World December 21, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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“It’s after the end of the world. Don’t you know that yet?”
— Sun Ra

I did not see the end of the world up close and personal, but I lived it with a vicarious survivor’s guilt seven years ago that was–for me–world shattering.
Shall we rehearse those memories, if only to put to rest the nonsense of millennial crazies? It is an exercise more appropriate to Good Friday than Christmas so let it pass. I will not mar your holiday with that old crown of thorns.

And yet it is fitting to remember as the great Mayan wheel turns from Macha to the Pacha that the elders of that race promise a transformation not of the universe but of the hearts of men. In New Orleans we live with peril the way the rest of America lives with Starbucks, ubiquitous and just around the corner. Men have gashed canals into the earth and sucked the black blood of the ancestors, collapsing geological into historical time and dooming the lands and cultures of the Creoles and Acadians to eradication. It is not possible to forget that the great cities of the Maya lasted centuries longer than New Orleans can survive. One can only hope that instead of the false apocalypse people remember the words of the Mayan elders, who tell us that the the new cycle, the Pacha, will be the end of man’s dominion, the lifting of Yahweh’s curse, and the beginning of a time of humanity’s cohabitation with the earth and with each other. A thousand years from now, let the broken towers of downtown rise up from the water to remind everyone of the foolishness of the past.

Here on Fortin Street, a dozen miles as the crow counts from The End of the World Marina, it is Solstice not Apocalypse. Here it is already after the end of the world. Tonight I will kindle a fire in the cold clear night and roast meat and drink strong ale as my German ancestors would have done. If tonight there are parties in New Orleans we do not mock anyone’s gods. We thank our own, the tangled saints of Africa and Spain and the gods of our ancestors, for another day and a year to come on this fragile land.

Five Years August 21, 2008

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Three years August and the storms are being named like epic ships, a doom upon our shore, and I think of the levees still leaking and of the flood-walls patched with paper mache, our Potemkin defenses are not ready and we are not ready and the Big One is out there, invisible, a mighty wind, waiting for us. Someone empties a pistol into the night and I think of Jessica and Chanel and Helen and Dinerral as I watch the MPs in their Humvees roll by like armored ghosts. I think of the streets running into blocks running into miles of houses houses houses houses houses empty eyed with plywood doors and ragged lawns. And I think I’ll have another drink and light another cigarette and then another drink and then–I stop thinking. That is when this song comes into my head. It is a compulsion, like bitting ones nails until they smart and bleed, this thought that what we blog may not be our Genesis but an Apocalypse, the history of the end. And yet we stay because to live here is to walk through wrack and ruin counting the flowers in the weeds and discover you are not alone, everywhere there are people smiling, people with crumpled souls and rough stomachs, suffering what you are suffering, worse than you are suffering, suffering beyond your imagining and all for the sake of this place, because they see this city as you do, because they are the figures in the frame that make the landscape. A terrible beauty spills out of their eyes like tears and bathes the city in light.

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