New Orleans

happy for a plate of beans
happy for a day without
outright rage
and insult.

happy for the doughnut at 5 am and
the chance to sweat
rice pudding
on Sundays.

happy for the coins
in a loose pocket
happy for

happy for the river
happy for the sun
and the trees

but not the people

and the scratching out a hole
in the side of life

and the crawling in
and the waiting
and the

and the brilliant whore running in circles
in front of me
chased by the blacksuited white man
screaming: wallet!
tighter and tighter reaching
down and grabbing
one highheel
twelve strides
ripping off the other stuffing
both into a red purse
and disappearing down
the drowning street
as the man stops
and stands

and walking the streets and
walking the streets and
walking the

and Joshua in his dress
and the Mechanical Man
and the Laughing Governor.

and pots to scrub
and restrooms to scrub
and houses to scrub
and pools to scrub
and gutters.

and the rooms and the rooms
and the rooms
with no clocks
no radios
no pictures only
mice and a typewriter in the pawnshop
and walking two miles
for general delivery.

and but for the occasional love
the bright drunk
the soft music
the foreign kiss
the fresh breast
the song

the green day
the yellow
day the

and the rain and the moon and the air

I don't think I would have

© 1996, by Matt Dennison

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