Scenes from New Orleans

Two months after Mardi Gras
in perfect spring weather.

At the blues club on Frenchman’s
Street, the two young lesbians put
on a show. The one with the shaved
head danced with the world and in
no relation to the music. Her companion
with the bad red die job and the but-
crack exposing boy pants kept
trying to join her, but only got in the way.
That did not keep the wistful smile
from her face, and they did get the
attention they were craving.

On St Charles Avenue
Mardi Gras beads hang from the
trees and decorate the iron fences.
Symbols of debauchery to every
non-local, strewn with abandon,
colors washed out by exposure to
weather like the bricks of the churches
found on every block.

Off of Jackson Square in the alley beside
the cathedral, the apparently homeless
couple strolled with their pets. The dog
looked cleaner than them and the cat
rode on top of the girl’s backpack. All
looked to be well fed.

The Spotted Cat was crowded, a six
piece jazz band kept it hoppin’. The grey-
haired fifty-ish lesbians kept their eyes
locked on each other, smiling, hands
touching while they danced – a newly
discovered experience. The gay men
danced with the straight women, but
never with each other.

There was a wedding in Jackson Square
in the middle of the day. The couple said
vows facing the spires of St Louis, the
preacher stood with his back to the card
readers and voodoo practitioners calling
out to the tourists.

Jackson Square - New Orleans

Jackson Square - New Orleans (Photo credit: Loco Steve)

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31 Comments

Filed under Poetry

31 responses to “Scenes from New Orleans

  1. Undoubtedly true. My splendiest of times in New Orleans. .
    Enjoyed reading this much ; )

  2. Filled with the atmosphere of New Orleans, with all its richness and colour, the fantastical mixing with the mundane, the dark melting into the inspirational.

  3. Having been there twice now, it’s so lovely to be able to ‘see’ this in my mind’s eye. The cathedral, Jackson Square. I wasn’t there for Mardis Gras though, maybe one day. This was all so vivid in colour anyway.

  4. I have never been there…it looks wild and full of spunk ~

    Thanks for sharing this ~

  5. I’ve a great Aunt who says so much has changed from when she was little. But then what does stay the same anywhere? Perhaps only the monasteries on top of the white capped mountains. And yet some of the monks there seem to have computers too! I met one! Life is colorful, even when ‘things’ fade. Nice read, thanks.

  6. There’s a sense of the gaudy in New Orleans. Funny you started with young lesbians and ended with fiftyish ones. The ending image of worked to end the landscape you painted.

  7. Shawna

    Loved this ending, Mark: “the
    preacher stood with his back to the card
    readers and voodoo practitioners calling
    out to the tourist[s]” … too funny

    I hope you guys had a nice trip.

  8. Oh you took me right there. I could see it all:) Loved the trip.

  9. Now ain’t that a picture, I love this, vivid description of things a lot of people would have missed. Thanks for taking us on a little trip…

  10. What a scenario you created here, Mark. full of atmosphers and taking me straight there. Was there only one tourist? (last line)

  11. Laurie Kolp

    New Orleans has a good zoo, too.

  12. like i was standing there…turning in circles, each stanza another turn…and you know i did not mind it at all…really nice piece…

  13. hedgewitch

    Really liked the way the ending made the whole poem distinct, a complete circle, with the city and its quirks at the center. This is solid, man.(I just gave my age away with that bit of slang–I’m also at the point where being out doing things after midnight is just way too late.)

  14. You must not have eaten in any good restaurants if the food didn’t creep into your poem, no beignets, gumbo, creole,alligator,crawdads?
    New Orleans is a gourmet heaven!!!!

    • Had all of that except the gator (have had it before). Food was not as much of a focus of the trip as I thought it would be. Crawfish in season and very good, second batch of oysters good, disappointed in Cafe Dumond, VERY disappointed in Brennan’s. Most money I have spent on a meal in years and it was only so so.

      • Sorry to hear about those disappointments, I do understand that sometimes New Orleans is so crackling that food drops down the list rapidly. Sounds like you still had a good time and that’s what counts!!!

  15. Lovely, sensitive filled with the detail that makes so much real of their love ofbeach other and their joy. We can share in their future now, caught in their moment of bonding, bringing the city to pray with them in promise and vow. Excellent, lovely.

  16. poemsofhateandhope

    Man- you showed us another side to Mardi gras- this was a great exploration of REAL people watching- well observed and also unafraid to say REAL thoughts which I very much liked….loved the rolling narrative in this…my kinda write for sure

    • Hi Stu, I have to apologize, I have not checked spam lately and there were several of your comments lost in there. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, it is greatly appreciated.

  17. This paints such a wonderfully evocative picture, that I’m mindful to book my next holiday in New Orleans. Great job!

  18. I’ve been to New Orleans several times, and saw the things you speak of, but the way you’ve spun this tale is unique and quite entertaining. Very nicely done, Mark!
    http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/the-end/

  19. You captured the atmosphere πŸ™‚

  20. you totally transported me to new orleans… πŸ™‚

  21. margo roby

    I laughed at the final stanza. Nice little poke. I am glad I got to see the NOLA of the early 70s before it became an all-year destination place. It was lovely to walk around.

    • There is still a lot of ‘lovely’, but the heart of the Quarter is not my favorite. North (east?) ofJackson Square is still very nice as well as the Garden district. One daylight stroll down Bourbon was enough for me.

  22. Pingback: The Zen of Music | Jonna AsherJonna Asher

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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