Calamity plunges headlong, a fall
of seraphim wings wreathed with a fireball,
like the burning whirlwind witnessed by
Ezekiel, cloud and fire mounting high,
and where she lands her impact arrays pyres
of hopes and dreams, even petty desires,
all aflame—aflame! Whereso she crashes
like a lightning bolt whose coming flashes
out of the clear blue sky, oft unforeseen;
no trumpets, heralds, or bird signs to glean
foreknowledge of her dizzying fallout
nor time to catch one’s breath as we call out
in despair to the loved ones we have lost
within a New Era wrought at their cost.
Calamity is a spear thrown by God,
and we can do little, shocked and slack-jawed
from the suddenness, the swift ruin wrought
by powers beyond us, and what we thought,
what we presumed previously of life
and its routines, the shrill blow of a fife
discordant with the melody we learned
hitherto, the music sheet henceforth burned
and all other notes now sounding quite wrong
as we march off-rhythm to this new song.
The level ground upon which we once stood
is an impact crater, our neighborhood
in decline, literally, the downtown
concave, the downtown sliding down, down, down
in the aftermath of the Advent come
and its smoldering throne, its ash kingdom
where streets are all dead-ends, alleys are traps,
and home is a bait for countless mishaps,
comfort gone cold, taxidermied, hung high,
out of reach, gaudy, a gleaming glass eye
looking over us in our time of need,
as futile as any rosary bead
or a prayer belted out in despair
to mute, blind, deaf, dumb, illegible air.

Calamity is no city planner,
though she sits in the governor’s manor,
and she is not elected by our choice,
though we can encourage her—not by voice,
but by carelessness, selfishness, ego…
Yes, ego, that parade whereby we go
marching into Calamity’s crater
to serve ourselves flaming soot, to cater
our own Wake, all bedighted in embers
of what had been, that which…who remembers?
Not me. I am distracted by the light
of fresh Calamity in fireball flight
across the vault of heaven, that high vault
that cracks to a fissure along the fault
and rains down as a meteor shower
to flatten every tree, home, tower
until neither king or pauper can find
the false-hope of refuge to hide behind.

Calamity renovates as she likes,
gentrification and ruthless tax hikes,
pushing out the old tenants, the squatters,
and even landlords, all ledger jotters
who think themselves their own masters, the kings
of the domains to which such pretense clings;
none are spared the cataclysm, none spared
sorrows such as sown, reaped and quickly shared.
You do not schedule your life anymore,
but live by the timetable you abhor…
Oh, but Calamity strikes once again
and so, scheduled, must set aside my pen…

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