GUMBO by George Comeaux

Gumbo

I

Oil and Water have always mixed well here –
Priest and prostitute; Anglo; Creole;
Plantation owner; wet nurses; sharecropper –
Gumbo stirring in everyone’s soul.

Acadians trapped in the swamps no one wanted;
Africans danced to the auctioneer’s song;
Battered by strong winds, and social upheaval,
Twice reconstructed, more fertile and strong.

II

It’s not Oil and Water, it’s Black Gold and Brine!
Treasures embracing, to taunt destiny…
Mother Earth pierced, lubricants flowing
In post-partem sorrow to Grandmother Sea.

Life from the past, dueling life for tomorrow,
Clouding the bon temps that want to roulez;
Wings weighted, grounded; gills suffocating;
Shrimp boats aren’t a’sailin’ on Ponchartrain Bay.

III

Blame the pusher, the user, investor, producer;
Add up to total, send out the bill.
God said He’d forgive human transgression…
I don’t think Mother Nature will.

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STATEMENT

Oil and water have had significant impacts on my life. My parents grew up on Louisiana farms near the Mississippi River, My father worked as a teenager with his father clearing swamps for the levees near Baton Rouge. My spent his career at Humble Oil in Baytown, Texas, on the Houston Ship Channel. Humble income helped fund my college experience. My hope and prayer are that the perpetual inter-dependence and conflict between Nature and Industry will favor the health and well-being of the larger family.

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