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Write the Storm

Ed Coletti remembers the Tubbs fire

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In the early hours of Oct. 9 last year, poet Ed Coletti and his wife, Joyce, were among the thousands who fled their home from the firestorm.

The Colettis escaped with their lives, but lost their home and possessions to the Tubbs fire. It's an experience Coletti will never forget, and one he revisits in his new poetry chapbook,

Firestorm, self-published on his longtime imprint, Round Barn Press.

"We were so traumatized, and poetry gave me a way to express the things that I hadn't quite worked out yet, and still haven't," Coletti says.

In Firestorm, Coletti reflects on the terror of those early hours while also recounting the support of his family, friends and the community that helped him move forward, including purchasing a new home in May.

Here is an excerpt:

'When Random Sharks Attack'

When a frenzy of orange threshers

battle-sharpened yellow teeth ablaze

rushes to take your home

nothing can prepare you for the carnage

Denial an oh so temporary refuge

briefly houses your future plans and hopes

It too is overtaken by voracious marauders

I speak as one consumed

I dream of a huge red bear

I am empty sad feel worthless

I don't know what to do be still or fight

Luck had saved me up 'til the present

I'm watching scores of rock doves swoop

these Oakland hills evade the stoop of circling

red tail hawks eye level with our refuge from

the fire of that black senses-deadened infant

morning's blind-eyed rush sans a single dorsal fin

to warn or woo while now and here in hills

across the Bay awake to strangeness:

curse of phantom pain we know but still

we want the easy comfort of our house

the sense of going home to what we know

to what we together purchased once we married

I seek a new thesaurus to explain things

Here in space where furniture doesn't fit me

in and out of my body feeling freaky

If it's true that attachment equaled suffering

I've been shoved on to the road of enlightenment

all too quickly here in a region known as Purgatory

atoning for my sin of routine comfort

We almost died

We did not die

We lost a house

And all possessions

Much more remains

In the rubble of our pain

The innocence of sharks

very much maligned

Ed Coletti reads from 'Firestorm', Sept. 29, at SOCO Coffee, 1015 4th St., Santa Rosa. 4:30pm. Free. 707.527.6434.

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