Juxtaposed between the Mississippi and the swamp
is the beaded ulcer of the South’s stomach.
Where boys smear crimson gloss on their lips and
the girls slide past their teeth;
Where I owned the cobblestone and sludge in the gutters;
Where the river spills life from its sodden womb;
Where I ran through alleys and tasted the bitterness of adoration;
Where I saw the world through a virgin’s eyes and
wept at the beauty of the rusty, dusk dry sky.
Nestled inside New Orleans, a pomegranate tree whose fruit is
decaying on the branch, spilling nectar from corroded skin.
Where incense is burned from doorways
and velvet is draped from balconies;
Where I put my hands in gloves to keep them warm;
Where the blood that’s spilt is washed away by dawn;
Where names written in cement and bathroom wall graffiti
are more precious than literature found on shelves.
Vieux Carre - a desolate wasteland of angels and masks, of
morbid splendor, left in my mouth the taste of rotten wine
and empty bottles for my eyes.