New Orleans Poems, 2019

I. Cemetery Number One

Cold water, one dollar
Crows calling in the 
Book about    water
      Mud underfoot   Ferns
growing out of the walls
     Cackles, protestations
            Free tours

Vaults, sarcophagi 
      biers      Hide and seek
among gravestones
      Marble, cement
          etched names
   A spigot, dry for years
This land, this district
    used to be for sugar.
Mosquitoes, yellow fever,
   three kids dead in a 
day.   Tombs
   of slaves,  built by slaves.
Brick and mortar, 
      still standing
Magnolias, their roots
         seeking air

II. 15 Freret

Farm economy, farm po-boy
What once was plantation is 
crossed now by buses, the 15 Freret
from green and luscious Tulane
past gentle pockets and then into
the run-down, check-cashing corners and
chicken markets, spraypaint on plywood
drunk man boards, he drunk for good reason
everything he owns falling out of a
suitcase, zipper’s broke, he cinches it
together, almost, with the type of
plastic bags I’ve gotten good at saying
No to at the grocery, all my fresh produce
nestled quietly into sturdy canvas bags
which I clutch to my chest like children

III. Untitled

Oh, New Orleans
I don’t want to go to sleep
but my body’s turning
    all the lights off

When I cannot keep
      my eyes open I
   fall asleep with your
         poetry in my hands

IV. Hotel Bill, Room 345

sex in bed
previously undisclosed suite fee
farting in the hallway
beer trash
listening to street jazz
jizzing over balcony
complaining about air freshener
plugging in fridge
exposure of male nipple from window
window-shopping recovery fee
failure to use umbrella
oyster gluttony
being only sort-of into the Saints
who dat
re-commissioned key cards
unlicensed fashion show
two-sided skirt
red shoes