The Party Crashers of Paradise

  • Indigo Moor

Paradise was lost. The largest fire in the history of California swept the town, taking nearly one hundred lives and destroying 18,000 homes. How do you encapsulate the multitudes of a preventable tragedy? Indigo Moor’s poem evokes the chaos, mourning, and dark humor of catastrophe.


We bum-rushed the stage,
this gig in Butte County.
A hundred flaming fan dancers open
for us, take the town like fire-
fruit dropped in hell. A blackout
curtain tossed over the sun.

The drummer goes High Hat
on some propane tanks.
Shit got real. Crowd squeal-
tone deaf. Nothing croons
like charred pines.Or
An arpeggio of screeching hawks.

A microbus humps a Mercedes
behind a burning bush.
It’s Paradise. These things happen.

We advertise crippled deer
chewing singed hooves.
A scorched tabby in a birdbath.
Knotted oaks and pine cones
Erupting like roman candles.

Our crooner scats embers
like rainbows over the middle school,
through the blind eye
of the monkey bars.

First, Burrowing Owls
bake into tender bites. Then
a grandmother. Roasted manna
hails down, picking the locks
on a child’s lungs
until the wailing of fire engines
finds its twin, before lurching
to a dead crescendo.

After 17 days, we’ve torched

Except the Starbucks.
We own our sacred altars,
Our angry gods of WiFi.

The Fire Marshall shuts us down.
There’s a blood cry
in the curtain calls.
The whole damn town was screaming.
Something like an encore.