Storm Drain Baby

STORM DRAIN BABY

Yesterday a baby was born,
Placed in a storm drain
To die by a father who wasn’t.
Three days of heavy rain
Washed the Blood of this Lamb
Into the sea.

He was found, expected to live
And died,
His short life measured in public outrage.

The 19 year old father said as they
Led him away:
“It was a miscarriage gone wrong.”

The rain continues today
Rushing down streets
To storm drains,
Making a gurgling sound.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
September 18, 2009

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10 Responses to “Storm Drain Baby”

  1. Margie Says:

    How sad and stark. Shines a beacon on raw emotions, outrage, pity, sadness. Beautiful poem, ugly event.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    I think you never get over these events. And the kicker was that the baby seemed to live….for a few hours, and people were hopeful. Then he dies.

    What are we to think about the parents? 19 and 18….and I was feeling that they were scared, overwhelmed, etc…that the ‘father’ did this horrible act out of fear, etc…and then I read he is has convictions for armed robbery, assault, drug dealing, etc. Nineteen years old. Apparently his friends are calling radio stations and saying he’s a ‘good man’ and how dare people ‘diss’ him.

    It’s a sub culture I doubt many of us understand. I saw the pix of the storm drain. Mud and water, and this poor babe survived that for hours.

    Today I am a mixture of some unhealthy emotions. Perhaps this babe’s life can have some real meaning for us all, but I doubt it. It’s been ‘done’ too many times.

    “A miscarriage gone wrong.” Huh.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  3. Margie Says:

    I don’t, and never will, understand actions such as these. I don’t buy the “I was too scared, and didn’t know what else to do” excuse. It is NOT illegal to have a child out of wedlock. It IS illegal to throw it away. Go to a hospital, a fire station, a police station, and ADOPTION AGENCY, for God’s sake. No one says you have to keep it, just give the baby a chance to live. Someone will take it, and love it, and raise it!

    Oh, it makes me mad!

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    I read that it is close to, if not already, 50 states that now have the set up to take in babies….

    I believe this is something else, and this will not be very popular amongst the liberal segment of our society. I have seen, over the past 40 years, down here in the South, a disregard for life…the life of others, and especially the lives of animals and children amongst Black people. I don’t know where this comes from, but I have yeasrs of observation here.

    When people, children, generation after generation are raised without fathers, or by grandparents, which is so much the case in Atlanta….something breaks down in a very deep way in families…and human values. I hear women yelling at their children and grandchildren in harsh terms in public, and you dare not say anything to them about their behavior. They will curse you out. I was a substitute teacher in my son’s school for a year and I saw the results of children raised with parents that just weren’t there mentally or emotionally. Either drugs or alcohol or other social ills made many of these children raise themselves and their siblings. It was a constant and real problem in the inner city. And where I was, child prostitution had a real hold on the community.

    What has happened here? The fact remains there is very little real leadership amongst the Black community because those at the top are too worried about their position or status and they many times become just opportunists. They become politicians and worry about their positions and plunder. Look at the King family, squabbling over the legacy of their father’s…Not one of them has amounted to a hill of beans here in Atlanta. They are just into ‘entitlement’. This is so much the case of so many black sons and daughters of those who at one time did serve within the civil rights movement. They have sold their souls.

    And what has happened to a segment of the black masses? 20 years ago we had the crack epidemic nation wide….and children were born to crack addicted mothers and fathers. Have you ever seen a crack baby and his/her behavior? These children a plunged into a morass of developmental issues and the dropout rate is fierce.

    In Atlanta, many, many youth face the personal options of drug dealing, prostitution and robbery as a way of life. There are many youth at 17 who have 12 and more convictions. They are still minors so it’s a swinging door. They get to a majority and commit murder? They serve in many cases, reduced sentences because the prisons are stuffed to the gills.

    Now we have, in Atlanta, a huge issue of crime. It’s something we have never seen before: and police and other authorities….say it’s teen generated crime. They criminals rob stores, people, etc….and they shoot to kill. Even, as last week….they shot an Asian woman for $2.00 in the face and ran. In January, three teens robbed a bartender in a restaurant and shot through the door as he was hovering over the waitresses to protect them. They killed him. And it took the police 5 months to find them….here in Atlanta. They are good at lawyering up.

    I think we are dealing with a generation of morally lost and dead youth. Not all of them, but the pressure to join gangs, which are the substitutes for families, whole and attentive adults/parents….well, this is the result.

    And babies dumped in storm drains, or stuffed into bags and put in dumpsters, or like today…a “mother” tried to smother her 4 year old daughter in a kudzu patch.

    It just doesn’t end but people don’t know how to respond anymore because there is no leadership from the pulpits, or organizations, or most functions. At least, not much.

    And the divisions will widen. And hearts get hardened. They have no moral compass it seems. Life is cheap.

    Like

  5. Margie Says:

    I see what you are saying, and agree mostly. I’m not sure if it’s a “black” thing per se — maybe more urban, maybe more gang related — I have relatives in California who say it’s an hispanic problem (again gangs). But I have seen an attitudinal change in many kids regarding the value of life, education, hard work, etc. I don’t pretend to understand feeling that way, because I have always valued living a good life. But I do know that there is a point in everyone’s life where you just have to decide which direction to take that next step. And take responsibility for your own happiness. And STOP BLAMING SOCIETY. There are millions of minority people who got themselves educated, and employed, and are living productive, happy, fulfilling lives.

    I guess because I don’t live in an urban setting, I don’t see the same things that you do. It must be quite a challenge all around. The biggest crime wave we’ve had lately are shoplifters and speeders. I hear the news, and read the paper and the internet, but it’s removed from my day to day life. It would, certainly, color my outlook to be in the midst of it. My emotions run from sad, to incredibly angry at the waste of lives — on all levels.

    Not a happy topic, but Jane, the poem was brilliant — in case I didn’t tell you that!

    Like

  6. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Marge…I was pretty asleep when I wrote it. and that was probably a good idea..distancing myself from the rawness of it all.

    And it’s been not unusual here in Atlanta..But as you say…it’s location/location/location
    I am sure that you could substitute the words black for white/hispanic/asian…etc.

    It’s just a very sad situation and doesn’t seem to cease.

    I’m just living as well as I can, but the heart does harden. Churchill, again.

    Jane

    Like

  7. Berowne Says:

    And in Connecticut a young white man with a steady job at an Ivy League university has apparently strangled a female colleague without motive. The only lesson I can derive from the intersection of these two dreadful incidents is that there is no lesson to be derived from them.

    Like

  8. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, I don’t know, Berowne. These two dreadful incidents as you say, and they are….just point up the darkness of the human mind. Bereft of compassion and true humanity.

    Life is precious but it doesn’t seem to register with some people. Many people apparently.

    Like

  9. R.K.SINGH Says:

    I find the shorter version of your poem you mailed me more effective and touching:

    “To die by a father who wasn’t.

    Three days of heavy rain

    Washed the Blood of this Lamb

    Into the sea.

    He was found, expected to live

    And died,

    His short life measured in public outrage.

    The 19 year old father said as they

    Led him away:

    “It was a miscarriage gone wrong.”

    The rain continues today

    Rushing down streets

    To storm drains,

    Making a gurgling sound.”

    Jane Kohut-Bartels

    I appreciate your effort to negotiate the deep pain the incident aroused in your mind. I feel the same way as you do, but we all need to think about our role in making the wayward youths more responsible. If one can’t rear a baby, one has no right to give birth to it and then kill it.

    R K Singh

    Like

  10. ladynyo Says:

    Hi RK,

    That poem has made the rounds…and it didn’t format correctly when I sent it to you…so something got chopped. Which sometimes is good.

    “Wayward youths” sounds like such a quaint term now. This ‘youth’ was a convicted felon, as so many are unfortunately. He was convicted of armed robbery, assault, drug dealing, and kidnapping. All by 19.

    After living in the south for 40 years, I have no more answers. The politicians, preachers, community ‘leaders’ have shucked and jived on these questions for so many years, and nothing changes except the situation gets worse. I have seen a generation grow up and go to prison….over and over. The issue starts with the parents, if there are any, and so many times, both parents are missing and the children are shuffled off to the grandparents who are mostly ill prepared to raise them.

    I agree that if one can’t rear a baby, one has no right to give birth to it, but try telling this to women who barter their bodies for something that resembles ‘love’ from these boyfriends. The collapse of the family in the black community is the problem, where 75% of children are born illegitimate. The present economic conditions don’t help, but when there were jobs, the ‘easy’ money of robbery and drug dealing was preferable to the grind of an honest job.

    Until the mindset of a whole lot of people change about life…and its value…this will happen over and over.

    The genocide is within these hearts.

    Like

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