Wind Event and other works by Rodger Kamenetz


Rodger Kamenetz is an award-winning New Orleans poet and author. He wrote the landmark international bestseller The Jew in the Lotus and the National Jewish Book Award-winning Stalking Elijah. His five books of poetry include The Lowercase Jew - he has been called "the most formidable of the Jewish-American poets". His memoir, Terra Infirma, has been described as "the most beautiful book ever written about a mother and son." His latest book, The History of Last Night's Dream takes us on an historical tour of dreaming from Genesis to now. For more information on Kamenetz's DreamWorks Sessions, visit


Wind Event
New Orleans, fall 2005

We don't have the authority for large operations.
There is a sink, inside the sink is water,
A rat is drowning. Pink tips of fingers, pink nips.
We don't have authority. The regulations deny
And the cat ate the rat. Like that was one two three
As the water came to his chest he froze.
He was carrying something in the water, dragging it.
A 10 foot aluminum tool box, and a child.
We don't think about our operations any more.
The power went out, and that was a sandwich
Between air and air. The lightning hummed.
We don't think any more. The usual operations have been suspended.
The law against law is broken. Now: an unholy scream
Emitted by an electronic device at the speed of apathy.
We don't suspend normal operations during business hours.
We just let them bleed. The rat swam slowly,
Taking gasps of air, its paws, are they called paws
Flapping up and down. Did you know rats swim
In water temperatures up to 97 degrees?
No I didn't know that and neither did you.
We don't swim any more against the regulations.
The requirements for the application are stated in the envelope
You haven't received. It will be forwarded to your destination.
We don't think any more about sleeping in the air.
The concrete is our destination, we shat there.
Out in the open. Now tell me Mr. Mayor how do you like that
For degradation? Buses will be provided, provided you know.
Buses will be provided but in case you didn't know you should
Just wait at the corner for the bus to float by.
Our operations were suspended in the data base
Which is stunk solid in the air of garbage roasting.
We had a cat, we had a rat, we had a broom.
However additional equipment will be provided.
We were swimming in the living room and others
in the attic drowned in an attitude of prayer.
It's said that God wrote the rules and regulations,
Mr. Mayor I believe that. I think as you sink slowly
In the air, the rats are swimming by
Making comments in the sand. We don't think any more.
The regulations have been suspended. We were dreaming
In the anal dust. Some of the powder is known to contain
Carcinogens, the powder blows mysteriously back and forth
The dust, they call it, and this dust, 1/10th rat hair
1/10th roach particle, one part lead, one part arsenic
and one part human waste. The composition determined
by the EPA to be harmless to your health provided
you are not a child, elderly, susceptible to immune diseases
compromised in any way. Provided you have not compromised
in any way, you will please tell the congressman where
the money in the freezer felt cold to the touch. Raise
your right hand and swear. We don't think any more
about consequences. The rules are all written in storm clouds.
They broke across the sky. The wind event. The coverage
Was like this: approximately six months after the last drop
A man in an insurance pedicle will slowly melt across
The broken glass. He will replace the shards with his teeth
Writing checks with his auto immune system, his automatic pilot
And his pen dipped in the blood of rats. The dust rising
In his footsteps as he walks, adjusts to the fetid air.
That is why they call him an adjustor. He left a blank stare.
That's good to go, take it to the bank, cash his blank stare
And you will fill your bank with golden nothing. The regulations
Were in the fine print in your policy which has floated away.
However if you would refer to the policy you never received
That indicates that a wind event… But when you speak that's a
Wind event. But when you turn your back, that's a wind event.
The rising water is up to my esophagus now. Should I begin
To pray into the event or facing the other direction? Winds
From the northwest circling counterclockwise or as the case
May be, are not covered in the event of wind, rain, fire, flood
Or the delivery of mail. The postman however lost his home also.
He has your letters there, proceed to broken window five,
Under the electric yawning. He will telegraph your future
Correspondence and let them know the bank has suspended
Your payments with interest of 27 percent per month calculated
On a daily basis. However should you cancel your credit card
A new one will be issued at a higher rate. For complaints please
Call your FEMA representative. He's off the hook.
We don't have any clowns to process this latest episode.
The dust drifted slowly mixing with the rising heat
In the summer that began in June and is still on in November.



A prescription for a disease that has no cure
A tongue for tasting the hollow of a salty vase
A star that can't be seen from a star that can't be seen
A riddle whose every answer is a riddle

An eye for a thorn and a thorn for an eye
A truth for a lie and a lie for a truth
An invisible portrait at the end of the journey
A cure for a disease that has no cure

In my mouth these black paradoxes were tablets
You swallowed them reader and became me at once
You read me in the spasm and on fingers of every nerve
Became the disease in the image of my cure:

Then you understood no medicine relieves
the distance between word and ear, tongue and heart.
You drank my vomit and I bit your tongue
and I became you and wept in my face


After After

I saw the word poetry cover the word poetry
I saw the word snow and saw the word snow
In my eyes there was a snow that never melted
And in my poetry, also too.

But if you would apply hand to heart
kiss to brain, tohu to bohu
I would be astonished and the void would be blue
It would be bluer than ever in the poetry that melted

in the poem of snow, and in the garden
where the leaves are covered with void
and the word for poetry is sky
and the word for snow is astonishment.