Saturday, October 27, 2007

new orleans notebook

Jackson Square was so freshly scrubbed it reminded me of a time I sat rear to ground and
chalk in hand chut-chut-chuting at an old roof slate for play, squinting at the sun
and a caliope played, some sad sweet tune- an echo I'd wake up to one morning,
thirty years later. how'd you get here? I could talk but it was before I cared to,
and things stick in you
like when you first put flour to oil to make a roux.

I wouldn't know this had Joette not told me, they used to pick up the trash with mules on
Prieur and it could very well be that way again, mules and prayers, cars and curses
it is so damn hard to get around now, but no hurry still.

An old chef told me in bright clean October, if I took my shoes off and walked around barefoot here,
nowhere else would ever feel like home. I remember scraping around shoeless in the early fall sun on stone and
grass, hands red and yellow and dusty, I saw the clown faces everyone did that sort of thing then - and I'd never be seven like my sister, and this old square was a big enough world.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the view from platform E

mingled at the castle, swirled around princes of industry
or just one bright business in particular-
the newest one where everyone wins
and realized no one would approach my chardonnay or my
prayer like stare
that one does to ones' electronic bonnet- to say "I'm busy"
ran down cool bluster to miss the red line just by a breath
and found I'd been tagged with a price on my hair
everyone has one

and then
the beige maw of union station opened up to me
and in two minutes I had a ticket and a possibility
this woman who sat next to me, she had just met the
president's father, don't you know it, she speaks some other language
that I can't understand, but whispers anyway
and with my bottle of water, young men in suits untied
bobbing forward and back staring with black pools
where blue used to be
staring and me and they are so slight and smart
in periphery
buy expensive beer and sometimes a pretzel

I'm going home now
where the heel stops short of the platform and
just as you fall in, a kind conductor offers
"miss, you forgot your sweater"

Monday, October 01, 2007

texas blues

Three and a half pounds of shrimp as big as your head for sixteen dollars. Texas blue crabs nip and I nip back, who knew there were crab tongs? Guilt tugs at me. they're too pretty to eat. I grew up on the Texas gulf coast, the part just shy of Louisiana, hot sauce with every meal the yearly threat of wind and water at your door and the promise of tiny black springtime frogs in a saturated emerald lawn. Childhood summers were covered by a green shroud; couldn't see any other color except for bark brown that you tag breathlessly with mud boots and herds of crickets your only witness.

Playing "outside or in, pick one!" was good until 9 pm and then suddenly sweaters, though it was 85 degrees and hot hot on the playground. The first day of school brought the excitement of pencil smell and playground pebbles in my knees. Why did construction paper not come in blonde? You have yellow hair when you cut it out that way-

Found Allison under a sappy white pine crying, no friends quite yet and there I was hands smelling like cyprus. It's twenty-five years later, ya'll and I look into her daughter's new almond eyes and mine cannot hold back the Texas Blues.