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The Song Stays Sweet – A Prose Poem

December 17, 2015

A Prose Poem with Photo Essay


Cathedral and fence in Jackson SquareMuscle cars slink along Canal Street in their wheel skirts. Vroom, vroom. Radios on high bass shake the sidewalk passers-by. Big men wear big gold watches and smile their big gold teeth. Pushing and laughing and butting fists. Are they the murderers to be or just some mother’s little boys?

Music along Royal Street. A woman with braided hair plays clarinet like an angel. A bicycle rider late for a gig. Washboard on his chest. At the ready. A trombonist from the Treme pulls and pushes that brass slide.

A young singer contorts her lovely face to squeeze out a high note on Chartres Street near Napoleon House where they serve Pimm’s Cup and PoBoys. A hooker drags Bourbon for business.

Red, blue, purple, yellow, pink and green. New Orleans colours. Shotguns and double shotguns in the Marigny. Wrought iron balconies in the Quarter. Brad Pitt, take note. Which house is yours so far from the Lower Ninth?

Riding the St. Charles Street car to Lafayette Cemetery. Madame LeVaux, the Voodoo queen won’t be there. She’s painted pink in another graveyard. No doubt someone has pricked a gris gris to punish the offending party. No doubt. Will a snake dance undo the sacrilege?

Is Frenchmen Street the new Bourbon Street, asks the Times-Picayune? Depends on the quantity of the vomit as much as the quality of the music. Depends on the number of rapes; the number of murders. Two each while I was at the nighttime outdoor gallery and market.

Turtle soup with a dash of sherry at Commander’s Palace. Bread pudding soufflé. Oh yeah! Muffeletas at the Central Grocery on Decatur Street stuffed with olive salad and salame. Pralines. Sweet, tooth-decaying pecan candy. Flaming Bananas Foster. Shrimp Creole. And crab and corn bisque. So smooth. Yummm!

Sazeracs at Hermes bar. Hurricanes in the French Market. Grenades on Bourbon. Abita Amber everywhere. Oysters from the “Motha Shucka.” Where’s the champagne? Chicory-laced coffee and beignets at Café du Monde.

A man dressed up as Uncle Sam with a cowboy hat wants to tell me how to save the USofA from the evil Muslim hordes. And any other horde that he doesn’t like, that doesn’t think exactly like him, that passes him by as a crackpot.

A sip of absinthe from a woman in a tri-cornered hat. Glory, glory, hallelujah. And all that jazz at Preservation Hall. Little black girl wants blue eyes at Le petit theatre. Anne Rice’s vampires. Walker Percy’s Binx on the endless search for life and distractions.

A street poet says she’ll write me a verse – any subject I want – and for only $10 million. No, really, how much? Okay, $3 million. But a haiku for five bucks. Write it, I say: predict the future of New Orleans.

On her little portable Smith Corona typewriter “kgh” taps it this way: “The water will rise/ The ship has sailed already/ But the song stays sweet.” And so it does.

A bronze trombonist in Louis Armstrong Park Bad Motha Shucka Balloon maker and girl in Jackson Square Cafe du Monde hat Desire on cloth Doreen in full form Dress seller in French Market Drop out, write poetry Madame Lavaux sculpture at food coop Making a living on Bourbon St. Man sleeping in French Market Mean Uncle Sam Painter in Jackson Square Playin' real good for free Preservation Hall drum Professor Long Hair Santa's pink-clad helper Slave child sits on shack porch at Whitney Street singer belts one out Treme trombone Washboard cyclist Watchface 3 Who's your crawdaddy Yellow porch

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One Response to The Song Stays Sweet – A Prose Poem

  1. Niki on December 20, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Nice collection Verz!!!!

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