Blood Dazzler: A Lack Of Response

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A Lack of Response Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler is a collection of poems written in response to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, a category five hurricane, which obliterated New Orleans in 2005 and left both the city and her people in ruins. Throughout the collection Smith personifies Katrina, revealing and embodying the damage, loss, and neglect that ensues in her wake. Her poems, such as “Man on the TV Say”, “Inconvenient”, and “What to Tweak” discuss the societal and political overtones which only serve to augment Katrina’s devastation. These poems exemplify how socioeconomic disparities and poorly veiled racism combined with political incompetence and a general sense of unawareness became the true tragedy of this situation. “Man on the TV Say” and “Inconvenient” embody the socioeconomic disparities present in New Orleans and reveal why so many were unable to flee, despite the mandated evacuations. “Man on the TV Say” describes a news anchor’s orders to leave the city in colloquial terms. “Go, he say. Pick up y’all black asses and run.” (7). The poem instructs the poor, African American residents of New Orleans to abandon their homes with their “splinters and pocked roofs”, to “leave the pork chops drifting in grease and onion”, and to “leave the whining dog” along with “that purple church hat”. These ethnic and cultural references throughout the poem provide the reader with a better sense of the everyday details concerning the lives of those who became known to the world as merely victims of Katrina. The idealistic demands of the state government for all of its citizens to simply leave and the reality of the situation is exemplified in the following lines, “Go. Uh-huh. Like our bodies got wheels and gas,/like at the end of that running there’s an open door … Get on out. Can’t he see that our bodies/are just our bodies, tied to what we know? …

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