Tuesday, June 16, 2009

poem of the day 06.16.09

i have some new NOLA poems coming once i type them up, but for now, here's a poem written after i passed through New Orleans in May 2007

carondelet street, approximately

catching moths in my hair
and mouth,
carondelet street, new orleans,
one year and nine months after,
as drunks stumble by
with dixie cups full of beer
and a brass band plays
michael “fucking” jackson’s

the footaction shop
across from me
is boarded up,
and surrounded by bums
passing a pint back and forth,
and the footlocker store
down canal street,
the one i saw being emptied
on tv,
is taped up and shackled with chains
like a ghost town saloon.

nearly every tourist
junk shop
in the french quarter
has a t-shirt celebrating
the arrival of katrina
and the folly of the geniuses
over at fema.

it’s healing via ironic statement,
the american tragedy
brought to you with a
palpable consumerist bow,
only i remember when we used
to celebrate our triumphs
over our defeats,
in this country,
so the saleable shit doesn’t seem
like such a deal to me.

but the scant returning masses
are eating this crap up
like rotten rice on an empty table
at a famine,
paying top dollar for commemorative
and a bus tour of the devastation.

i guess they wouldn’t have
this healing happen any other way
in america,
the kind that can turn red into
that digestible shade of
faded green,
the shade that makes us all feel so
safe and secure.

but new orleans is life rebuilding
yet still rerouted,
like everything else always is,
so i can’t blame it.
and this is a statement that
explains how i got to this place
to begin with,

a traveler in need of a second chance,
at a lowly bus stop
on carondelet street ,
as another king-sized louisiana moth
has its way with me,
and the band strikes up
another number by the king of pop
to the applause of a scattering crowd
moving on down bourbon street,
with their neck’s full of mardi gras beads
to pass out to all of their friends
back home,
once the illusion has been
completely glazed over.


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