Do you know what it means to miss the dark energy
of a world that loses its mind with planned synchronicity?
I chase Angie (pronounced An-zhee) into the galleries of Royal Street,
keeping her lipstick-red wig a fixture in my sight. I dig the heights
of ceilings in New Orleans but I wish I could take pictures.
I can’t tell facsimile from reality and the jewel tone of her pants bleeds
into the waiting hands of cherubs painted on suspended canvas.
She wants another drink already.
I’m in similar spirits and we wander planless through the Quarter,
pretending we're swingin jazzcats instead of whitebread like we look.
I lovingly stare down the dreadlocked heads of train-hopping “gutter trash”
and think "I'd rather be associated with that
than be labelled as a white girl."
This city's revelry calls to me, a swampland full of lessons for the listening,
and I do. I accept the rasp of muted trombone as sacrament,
the hush of holy reverence in the flush of liquored cheeks.
The dance with ancient history in the making.
A voice speaks:
"And I was never here
but it didn’t used to be that way."
The voice also tells me that I am Jesus, and it's tempting -
that His Divinity might simply be a smiling girl on a streetcar,
that the way, the truth and the light are not so far.
Of course I know I'm wrong, but the thought fills up my ego.
I savor the stranger’s knuckles that graze my shoulder blades
in rhythm to the road bumps as we go.
"Who dat, red hair?!" comes a catcall from the nightfall.
I'd rather be Jesus than a white girl but I'll take whatever this is.
I could be the guiding star or perhaps just made of ash pressed onto foreheads...
I think I am awhirl with planetary nobility.
I think I'm of a class that rises in tranquility as the sun declines over Poydras.
My ability to seek out wondrous dichotomy never ceases
and my eyes leak and hide behind folds and creases of wrinkled vision.
I laugh in the face of a chill coming over as I wrap myself in sips of Fireball.
Whiskey warmth. Catcalls from the nightfall.
I see myself in the seat of it all, surrounded and alone,
my eyes swirling with the saxophone and scanning the crowd for a red wig,
finding Angie and placing my hand on her head.
And I was never here
But it didn’t used to be that way