Tag Archives: New Orleans

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

While Walking Down Esplanade After Midnight (Rough Draft)

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I want to be allowed to be Snow White

dainty while walking down

the street at midnight, but the city never

forgets to bring me back down to earth, says keep

an attitude as crude as our erratic streets.

 

It’s history. Deep South city ports

have been inviting the dirt

under their fingernails for centuries

and their descendants like to prey after sunset.

 

And so we are women constantly

balancing our duality: tiptoeing on thin

heel sandals, applying our lipstick, mascara

like a queen, sipping a cocktail or holding

our liquor, smiling sweetly at a wink–

but Southern Belles along the crescent river

also gotta wear barbed wire like a sheer blouse,

walking tall, shoulders squared,  fight

face ready with a soft sparkle under eye shadow.

Looking pretty. Being deadly.

Acting like a lady with a pinch of bad ass

while surviving murder capital.

 

I Got Hijacked by the Party Bus (Continued, Rough Draft)

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No one in New Orleans has to be told

to dance; street poets,

with the barefooted guitar players,

set aside their notepads to blend

instantly with a single ladies’ night out,

turn the quiet street into a dance floor,

singing, “pour some Crown in my cup,”

under the blast from a bounce song’s bass.

 

Tourists on the Riverwalk lean against

the railing across from Jackson Square

to watch us quizzically,

as one girl learns that you gotta

bend, lock your knees,

or let your hips find a song to rock to–

but it’s much harder than it looks.

 

It’s much easier to laugh at your

lack of natural rhythm while still

getting caught up in the contagion anyway,

because even when we can’t dance,

we dance as if shaking off the last flames

of a bad break up or intoxicated by a new lover.

 

Because we believe our bodies  are made

of the music that surrounds us. How  sometimes,

a lone sax man plays on a potholed

corner and translates what our goosebumped

skin speaks, conjuring a sway and bump

before we even realize the conversation

with the body. Or, tonight as Big Freedia

blasts from party bus speakers, we find out

our hips speak the same language (but different

dialects),  shriek and gyrate as if

to nod and say, “Ahh, you can hear it too.”

 

Or we are celebrating. Despite our histories,

we celebrate we are alive before

onlookers who just won’t get it anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Time We Got Hijacked by the Party Bus (Work in Progress)

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No one in New Orleans has to be told

to dance; street poets,

with the barefooted guitar players,

set aside their notepads to blend

instantly with a single ladies’ night out,

turn the quiet street into a dance floor,

singing, “pour some Crown in my cup,”

under the blast from a bounce song’s bass.

 

Tourists on the Riverwalk lean against

the railing across from Jackson Square

to watch us quizzically,

as one girl learns that you gotta

bend, lock your knees,

or let your hips find a song to rock to–

but it’s much harder than it looks.

 

Or, it’s much easier to laugh at your

lack of natural rhythm while still

getting caught up in the contagion anyway,

because even when we can’t dance,

we dance as if shaking off the last flames

of a bad break up or intoxicated by a new lover.

 

Note: Not done with this and interested (and frustrated) in where this will go. 

Also, based on a true story. 

 

 

Hurricane Season

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They are getting closer.

 

The rising gulf takes back the region

inch my inch.

Boneless fingers leap from the wet

crowd to grab a handful of sinking earth

every time they collide.

 

They are getting closer.

 

Sometimes I study a map

and see the skeleton where skin  used to be.

 

They are getting closer.

 

And every hurricane

wants to crumble an army

of levees and bowlegged cypress trees

before the coup de grace.

 

They are getting closer.

 

As if,

once storm season is over,

one wave says to the other,

“Maybe next century,

we’ll get real lucky.”

Missing Legends (Rough Draft)

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Sometimes I think about

my godfather and how I miss

him. But the only memories

I can remember is of him putting 100

dollar bills in my 3 year old hands

because the 1990s economy was good

to him and he was very flashy

(and according to my mom, annoying.

But with good intentions.)

 

Have you seen him? I haven’t. Hard times

hit and he was supposed to report to court the week

Hurricane Katrina touched down, but ended up

as a character in a  too-bizarre-to-be-true

tale (even for the circumstances of the time)

that ended with “he fell out of a rescue boat

and drowned.” It was a coincidence,

so no one believed it (naturally, no one believes him.

Ever).

 

Most likely, he is the first person to benefit

from a natural disaster. Evading law, he is living

under another name in Mississippi to escape

his earlier mistakes and start a new life…

we think. When people say it, it starts with

“A friend of a friend told me…” or

“I heard from someone…”

 

He was the (most) stable connection

to my father. We think he’s alive.

I haven’t heard from him since I was 16,

so he is now a legend. That, at least, is true.

Nowadays, younger children only know him

as a myth from far, far away, when we

speak of him as tall tales and eccentric habits:

the only item he left behind.