POEM: everything stays

everything stays
(for Uncle Lionel)

just last night we danced in our hundreds
on this very same street, arms upraised
now the shop windows are barred
the doors hidden behind metal grates
no sound but the occasional birdcall
and even those are rare on this day after

but the pavement carries with it the feel
of our feet moving to the bass drum’s rhythm
the walls like the banks of a mad river
slowly receding after last night’s flood
after the deluge of outrushing emotion
the tears of pain, the wild sounds of joy

how we danced at the Candlelight Lounge
embraced against the wall of Kermit’s Treme
comforted one another on Frenchmen Street
while the band played “I’ll Fly Away”
that’s the dire beauty of this old city:
even carried on wings of song, everything stays

12 July 2012
on the bus from
New Orleans
to New York

6 Replies to “POEM: everything stays”

  1. Love this one!

    Love its jagged syncopation (like a second line), and the pangs of nostalgia suggested by the thread of half-rhyme throughout: arms upraised, metal grates, on this day, tears of pain, embraced, played I’ll Fly Away, everything stays. Brilliant.

    You should definitely record this one as spoken word and/or set it to music.

  2. I’m a New Orleanian living in NYC since….well, for a very long time. Your beautiful poem really touched me.

    “that’s the dire beauty of this old city:
    even carried on wings of song, everything stays”

    Nailed it perfectly.

    Hope you’ll visit New Orleans again — maybe late November through early April, when the weather is conducive to wandering the great, deep city outside the tourist vortex. Then again, if you can manage the heat, I think you’d love Jazz Fest in late April/early May.

    I like your “Buddha In The Modern World” Picasa set. He’s at home everywhere, that boy.

    From one hobo to another, take care of your good hobo self.

  3. Thank you, Brooks. Next time I visit, I think I might stay.

    I appreciate your taking the time to comment. We hobos need to stick together.

  4. New York and New Orleans have an old bond. What began as a business relationship in the early 19th century evolved into an ongoing exchange of talent, oddballs, and other fugitives from “Anywhere, USA.” The cities share enough DNA that I think you’d feel at home in New Orleans pretty quickly.

    Having watched Manhattan turn shiny and cold these last ten or so years, I’m thinking of toting my bindle back to NOLA. We’ll likely cross paths, if we’re ever there at the same time. The city has a force field that encourages coincidence.

    ‘Til then, Jason, be well.

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