Yet the French Quarter was just starting to come alive
I strolled from the stoop of Sylvain
Through the maze of dark streets
Until I reached the lights of the Church
Christ's shadow rose up against the new pitch of old night
A tall palm swung aimless in the warm 'Nawlins breeze
Dancin' under the stars
Spirits whispered from behind the blackened gates
Of lost loves
And, lost lives
The alley beckoned, too
So I turned the corner
Honeysuckle vines spilled up and over the ornate ironwork
There, the most perfect red and yellow blooms
Hung their hoary heads
As though I were the Dauphine
Maybe I was...
Once Upon a Time
But no matter who I am
In every Lifetime
I am still me
And always return to the Crescent City
Full of magicks
Like Marie LaVeau
I know each street
But from another time
As if experiencing an echo
A widening ripple
Within my existential pond
They closed my cemetery, you know
I stood behind my one-time grave
My hand on the wall, crying
The people of New Orleans
And I, I know them
We walk with our ghosts
All of us, together
Mine calls me, "Ma Cher"
He followed me home
Some eight years ago in November
His footsteps, rustling the dried magnolia leaves on the ground
"Do not cry for that one,"
He tells me now with a wrinkled brow.
"You are a daughter of Nawlins
And you cry for no one.
Besides, he say your name in his sleep--
He mixed up,
Not you, Cher."
My ghost is right...
I cry for no one
Just as well...my heart beats only for New Orleans
For the jazz floating in and around Bourbon Street
And the Zydeco swimming in the Mississippi
For shuttered shotguns
And the Loup Garou
Served at Reveillon
On a snowless Christmas Eve
As the bell tolls (for thee)
Echoing through Jackson Square
Where I sat with a Jonathan
Enjoying the sunshine
Whilst fitted in mine own (and, not mine own...)
Tired Mardi Gras beads sigh in the gutter
A faded purple feather wildly waves from beneath brick pavers
As the sun paints my face with freckles
And my hair, a brassy gold
I was sippin' blueberry Bellinis on Magazine
It was a Sunday mornin'
I was happier than happy
Like tickled, fickled Honeysuckle bellies on a cool winter's night
Tu es celui que j'ai attendu toute ma vie...veux-tu m'espouser???
(in case you're wondering, the answer is always,"Yes!")
*original picture copyright Rebecca Housel 2020