Recently my little house in Central Florida was bamboozled, flummoxed and baroccocoed by the passing of Hurricane Irma, a grand dame of massive wind and climate shame. The good news is that except for a bad night of rock 'n' roaring round the rafters of our house and a leaky upstairs deck door (fixed, finally, with a redneck repair of duct tape), we got through fine. Lots of branches down and, like millions of others up and down the state, no power for days.
The world changes without juice—contemporary human life is powered-up, online, air conditioned and refrigerated; such things define our suburban dailiness. No clocks, no microwave, no reading lamps, no Internet and only sparing use of cell phones and laptop, preserving precious percentages of remaining juice. No TV, no DVR, no Netflix or HBO on streaming. Without these essentials, the day reverts back to natural rhythms and definitions. Inside and outside lose most of their difference. Time slows. Night ends day and not much happens until the next coming day.
In a powered-down town, houses at night are afterthoughts and stars are amazing.
Last night, thirty seconds before my wife went over the edge wondering when those idiot lazy power crews would get their act together—mid-sentence, actually, of her extravagant diatribe against Those Who Control The Juice—right then, all the lights sprang to life and a resounding cheer sounded up and down our block. We left our half-eaten takeout dinner on the porch and rushed inside to turn on lights and a/c and TV. And just like that, the natural world was gone from suburbia. Hi ho back to binge-watching “Veep” on HBO Now and an upstairs bed no longer sweltering.
Hi ho here and hello to all of you out there. We were fortunate going just two days without power. Some parts of western Florida won't be seeing juice until the end of next week, and some of our Caribbean island neighbors who caught Irma at Defcon Cat Five won't have juice for weeks, maybe months. We live in a not-nice age of a fooled-with Mother Nature.
This has me thinking about power and what runs our lives. Every living organism is self-powered with animate cells, and yet we extend our power through social contact. Humans extend their juice much further through tools that range from hairstyles to electric grids to guns to Facebook to booze. We are addicted to diminishing powers and recover through dependence upon higher or deeper powers. Our muse or musing is empowering of what we create—great when it comes, dry as a empty well when it’s gone. There are strategies of conserving and furthering power, reservoirs for storing it and batteries for carrying it. There is a need to balance power with something else—love, say—and sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice one’s power for the greater good. And sometimes we can’t learn about the nature of juice until we’re fully deprived of it.
For this challenge, write a poem about power in your life and the world. Write about family or creativity or instinct, plugging in or playing unhooked, heavenly or earthly powers, the power of life or death, human powers versus nature's, etc. Then come back here to the pond and find a lily pad to plug into and let 'er rip. Visit other patrons of the pond and sample the hooch they've brewed. Extra points for keeping your poem mini (-ish, -esque, -mal, -finny, etc.).
The juice bar is now open, whattaya having?
(Note: the next day after I wrote this, our cable, Internet & TV went dark again, and we've been told it will be another week before connectedness. I can still get Internet access using my iPhone for a hotspot, but the signal's weak and glitchy. I will not have much chance to visit you today as I plan to spend much of it in south Orlando at my mother's where there is still no power. But I'll get around to your contributions eventually.)