She saw poetry on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine

She saw poetry on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine,

I came in from the northern winter

and I saw people who forgot how to shiver!

So I removed my winter coat, and considered getting in the ice cream line…

I saw suburbia, highways, sprawl, below sea level; not very wise, I thought…

The city smelled in places – the heat never lifting,

bacteria having a perpetual field day on garbage –

nothing to freeze them out during the winter…

At the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine I stopped –

for a traffic light, and I saw urban loiterers

on the handout, no education to speak of,

and on the lookout for a criminal opportunity,

which they would not hesitate to take…

I wondered if the city had enough jails…

She saw poetry – gentle, observational, sensitive…

I saw “No Parking 8AM-Noon – Thursday Street Cleaning”

with a picture of a car being towed,

$400 to get it out of impound, no doubt.

I heard unnecessarily loud people,

I saw unnecessarily narrow colloquial minds…

but then, I thought, maybe it was just me –

where what I saw merely suited my general disappointment in the bulk of humanity…

I reminded myself that there were, even in New Orleans,

shiny places where shiny people go –

spotless and clean, giving the illusion

of being free of plumbing and wires and bacteria…

but even then, having sampled that shiny world,

I can say it is better romanticized about,

for if you became lost in it

the rest of the dirty world could push you to suicide…

I saw brand names, and tired unimaginative establishments,

sleazy bars and run-down abodes…

why do I have an eye for such things

when there is glitter everywhere?

if I ever moved to New Orleans it would be for another purpose

other than romanticism,

though the shiny suburbs do have their pull on me –

yes, it is through illusion – you can’t see the plumbing and wiring…

and somewhere above sea level…


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