Tag Archives: Mardi Gras

Partner in Crime

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See me

loud as the sun,

inpatient for any kind of trouble

as long as it’s alongside

you

at the Carnival’s Krewe du Vieux

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When the DJ Played “Lovefool” on the First Night of Carnival Season in a New Orleans Nightclub, 2018

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On the 12th night, we shuffle

under the rotations of a disco ball,

old Halloween decorations,

balloons bobbing on the ceiling

to remind us that the year is only

six days old. I barely survived

 

the holidays, but the city can be

unforgiving to introverts, pushing us

out of our brick covered shells because

she needs just one more dance.

Other survivors are with me,

still thawing out from sleet or the shock

of blinking lights and covers of “Last

Christmas” on repeat. On practiced breathing,

 

I’m people watching at the bar.

I’m catching the DJ yawn another song

no one cares for. I’m leaving lipstick stains

on plastic cups just to show my therapist

how much I go outside. And all the while

I’m nodding off in my bed,

an open book tucked under my waist…

 

until the next DJ wakes us up to

the most cheerful sad song, reminding

us we’re all fools for love.

Some jump out of the corners to celebrate

the past and that it’s over; the second half (like me)

find other kids of the 90’s, two-step into

epiphany on the dance floor.

 

Spirits–once depressants–warm us

as we beg them to love and leave us

when we remember we still know the chorus.

When the night is over, I’ll be ready

to add another song to the playlist

of Carnival memories.

 

 

Originally published in the 2018 Live Mag! issue

New Orleans (Chuck Perkins)

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If your American dream is painted on a canvas
Neatly folded in the corner of Andy Warhol’s mind
New Orleans is a hurricane beating down your coast

If you close your eyes
And feel the easy ride
Of the St. Charles Street Car
Where a solo tuba
Blows the scent of magnolia
Down narrow streets
and everyone plays possum with the heat
and no one’s too big or too small
to paint their tongue with a snowball
where former slaves pay homage to the first Americans
by masking in suits of rhine stones and bright colored feathers
that transform security guards into Indian Chiefs
doing rain dances on Congo Square
where the drums drum
and the wine drink
and the big chief sing
somebody give me a quarter
cause pretty big chief want some water

if you can envision the souls of yesterday
living in the music
that rises from the cracks in the sidewalks
New Orleans is your dream
With a heart as soft
As the spanish moss
Dripping from centuries old oak tress

She’s a pretty face with dirty feet
The good witch of lake Ponchartrain
The spice god of shrimp and crawfish
Keeping the spirits fed

Communities of windowless monuments
Masquerading as cemeteries
Tower above ground
No earth or worms to cover the flesh
No silver bullets to turn out the spirits
That still dance with her

Spin your umbrella
And wave your bandanna
It’s Mardi Gras time
And everybody’s happy

Armed with a blue print of civilization
The new world stormed in
With enough asphalt and cement
To pave a boulevard back to Paris

the spirit of the swamp still hasn’t submitted
Leaving mildewed kisses of disapproval
On every thing foreign to the wet lands
Catholicism could not turn out the spirit of Marie Laveau
The wrecking ball could not turn out the spirit of Storyville
And death could not turn out the spirit of Louie Armstrong
When yesterday hangs on to forever
Tradition is a temple.

New Orleans by Chuck Perkins

Note: Happy Belated Mardi Gras! The above pic is from the Zulu Parade on February 28.