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Spirit Vessels June 27, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Activist and poet Dennis Formento reading “Spirit Vessels” at the spirit vessel launching ceremony at Bayou St. John in New Orleans, Sunday, June 27 2010. There are photos here of the small unfired clay vessels bearing beeswax and olive oil tapers, flowers and representations of Gulf of Mexico wildlife, built by volunteers under the guidance of local artist and educator Jane Hill. I no longer know how to pray but to be there, to help light the candles, was enough. The sweltering stillness was broken by a fresh breeze from the south as they launched the first of the spirit vessels. I’ll let Formento’s eloquence and the pictures tell the rest.

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1. Tim - June 27, 2010

Thanks for posting this. It is correct to mourn the loss of marsh grass, birds and fish, but let’s not forget the 11 souls lost at the very start of this catastrophe. Perhaps they were victims of corporate greed, or perhaps they were heroes who fought to the end trying to get the monster under control. We’ll never know. And we should never forget.

Peace,

Tim

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2. mf - June 27, 2010

Formento memorializes the eleven by name in his poem, “lost on the Horizon”. The intent was to do something memorial and healing both for the lost crew and for the Gulf.

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3. Dennis Formento - June 28, 2010

Yeah, I noticed early on that articles naming the eleven men disappeared from the internet, with the exception of two from the Picayune. (I never thought I’d see the day when I said, thank g-d for the TP, but since Katrina, it’s given me a couple of occasions.) What really bugs me is the lack of a union presence in this struggle– I’ve written to the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers Union to see if they have anything to say on the deaths and on the moratorium. So far, not a peep.

By coincidence, I’ve been listeing to this carnivalesque Italian folk group, E Zezi Gruppo Operaio (Workers Street Festival Band.) One of their songs tells the story of an explosion in a factory near Naples in 1991– twelve dead, one missing. This event started a huge outcry among labor forces in the country. Why has labor been silent– or been silenced– here in the Gulf

Footnote: when In February of this year, a mafioso avenged a firing at an oil refinery by releasing over 3.5 million gallons of oil into the Po River (and right past an organic farm owned by a friend of mine) two articles appeared in the Italian and in the American press– and then the story slid noiselessly into the Adriatic Sea. Nothing about the release or its consequences in the Adriatic have appeared since. Maybe thanks to President Berlusconi, who owns most of the news media in Italy, and his mob buddies, the news got quashed.

Here we ought not to have that problem.

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