I’ve watched this city drown
twice in my lifetime
and the thing I remember most
is the politicians; how they mourn
our loss, clamber through the debris
proclaiming a new start for the wet masses.

Nothing changes.

Life, as it is, remains
watermarked, stories of how high
stretch up the wall.
You never forget what’s lost
and the smell, it never goes away:
the smell and the politicians.


This poem is based on a conversation with a family friend after the January floods here in in QLD. Lenny lost everything in 1974 and again this year, even though he had rebuilt at a level that was supposedly ‘flood-safe’. I decided to post this, as just yesterday, I received news that the towns of Vicksburg and Natchez are holiding their breath as the mighty Mississippi threatens to burst its banks. It sure has been a year of it… So say a prayer for the people who are under threat.

And a big thanks to emily xyz for also sending through this great clip of Little Brother Montgomery singing Vicksburg Blues. He sure can wail!



Filed under poetry, who listens to the radio?

8 responses to “Lenny

  1. Loved the poem and the vidoe…I have one of the pictures from the video in my collection of photos.

  2. F++king brilliant Graham,

    Love the message and the way its told. It feels.

    (and once again you see the poetry in the, seemingly, little tiles of life)

  3. Oh I do like a good provocation. Thought provocation of course 🙂 and this poem achieved it well and good for me Graham. The politicians and the lingering smell. Maybe we owe the politicians some due for the case that life as it was remains. Watermarked but not left drowning. Thanks Graham.

  4. Makes me very sad this poem – I know a few Lenny’s and I remember the smell of the 74 flood (one of the worst smells, for sure) and to go through it twice is just horrible. But this year some people in small towns went through the flood a few times in a few weeks – that would also be torture. Great poem Graham – the linking in with the politicians is the icing on the cake (so to speak).

  5. I often wonder which ‘one’ started the smell (the chicken or the egg – so to speak) … tony

  6. You know I’ve loved the flood poetry. Thanks for posting this. That feeling of walking around under the high tide mark is still close to the nose. These words take me straight there and your added politicians… yeah. Cheers

  7. Pingback: Lenny | Another Lost Shark « LYNNE SANDERS-BRAITHWAITE

  8. Pingback: Lenny | Another Lost Shark « 2011 – ON THE BENCH

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