Thursday, June 27, 2013


By Jack Krusche*

Every day
at least 20 complete strangers,
come by my Mom's mucky flooded house.
Pretty young ladies in yoga outfits and sneakers,
tough young men in work boots,
elegant businessman in jeans and brand new gloves,
Moms with kids in tow;
They all ask, ever so politely:
"what can we do to help"?
I look at their naive daintiness
yet willing and eager desire, to
'do something.'

I remember thinking how we wanted to fly to New Orleans
- to help professionally as a toxicologist, or just build a quick house...
and here we are,
in our own town,
facing the great gift of
I send the men downstairs,
the ladies follow,
tentatively they start,
the first wet dirty soaking piece,
soon they are a grey mucky mass
a moving machine.
Like the pyramids,
piece by piece,
asking nothing in return,
they empty the dripping basement.
A monumental task,
made harder by the inverse laws of floating physics,
of the law of quadratic mass increase, of wet debris.
The pile of garbage on the the street,
I spy a toy from childhood,
an elegant evening gown of my Mom's,
from the 40's;
diligently kept for daughter or granddaughter,
never to be in fashion again.
Reports, logs, drilling records, maps,
Maps we poured our passion into,
maps, our lives depended on,
maps that gave us careers and jobs,
maps that gave the world new oil,
and energy.

save it?
toss it?
"just like that?"

A besmeared young man,
a grey warpainted shiny eyed lady;
asks: "should we keep this?"
Our eyes are glazed with questions,
we are in a zone
a twilight zone,
pushing on to save the house.
Perhaps we are missing the point.
Maybe, it is the little things that make us?
Old riding boots, soaked and grey,
washed off?
that report can be rinsed, papers between pages,
but there is so much.
When it is all
at once.

Another team of young men arrive,
"what can we do?
We have lots of energy."
"How do you know us,
where did you come from?"
"there is a list at Safeway..."
Who, made the list?

We have a cooler of beer and water,
a box of sandwiches,
a tray of soup.
We offer what we can,
but they come to help, not eat.

What was an unsurmountable task,
completely impossible,
totally hopeless.
Gets done,
in three days!

Old friends,
new friends,
complete strangers,
quietly come,
and shyly ask,
to help.

I am a project manager,
a yogi on a mountain,
people fighting to ask a questions,
telephone ringing,
what how where when.

Like ants,
we demolish the beast.
rip out the soul of the debris,
purge the damp.

It may not be tomorrow,
but an end is now in sight.
We thank and are humbled, by the
good of man.

As in the war stories of my childhood,
never was evil, hoarding, pillaging, rioting, looting,
Only generosity, help, sharing, warmth and kindness.
(Except for the invading army of course.)
As then, as now,
Everyone gives what they can,
there is no evil,
just stories by the media - unfounded,
fearmongers of order, there is no chaos.
Here in Calgary,
we see the same,
as 911, New Orleans, Haiti;

humanity wins.

*correction, this poem was submitted by Mac Main on behalf of Jack Krusche, and the author was initially not properly credited.  Our apologies.

1 comment:

  1. Phil Burpee27/6/13

    A stunningly elegant piece of verse. Poetry, at its best, dissolves the space between the speaker and the reader. We are drawn behind the poet's eyes - into his perceptions. This is no puny tweet, but rather a splendid, visceral immersion in Mr. Main's brain-bending experience. And if that were not enough, we are left cradled in the uplifting arms of affirmation - 'the better angels of our nature', as Stephen Pinker has put it - as strangers reach out to strangers, and all the world's silent woes get shared in common purpose.

    "...........demolish the beast.
    rip out the soul of the debris.........."

    Beautiful stuff!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Comments are moderated before being published. Please be civil.

Infinite Scroll