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New Orleans Nos 1 to 9

By Master Sade

These poems were written to express the many emotions brought on by the destruction of much of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans No 1

i walked home, early morn
down st charles washington and prytania
sipping coffee (savoring the morning)
where the cool mist hung ready
to dissolve in the blossoming heat

passing lafayette no 1 with moss
covered stones and creaking iron gate
reflected light filtered angled through
the trees from just above the
horizon (i thought) i saw lestat
slipping around a corner headed home
(like me) in a hurry to escape
the quickening early light

i waved goodbye with my coffee cup
he hurried on his way anxious as i,
no doubt, for his sleep
to awake again to dance
through the night i see him
now and then at five am
in the quarter on the dance floor
at tips and we nod in passing
lestat and i knowing each other
without meeting

New Orleans No 2

they move around me 
like silk like water

above me below me 
like silk like water

beside me front and back
like silk like water

mouths hands cock and cunts
like silk like water

decadent city an unwashed whore
like silk like water
like smoke
like early evening
like dawn

like the salt of oysters on the tongue, raw 

decadent city my heart
like silk like water
like smoke
like early evening
like dawn

decadent city
mist like water
river like silk
wet streets at early evening
walking home at dawn air like silk

decadent heart my city
like silk 
rivers water like mist
streets damp in early morning 
steam rising

decadent city moves around me
like silk like water
city above beside below me
like silk like water

heart like silk like water
city like silk like water
(they) like silk like water
like love the salt of oysters on the tongue, raw

New Orleans No 3

(in the wake of hurricane katrina)

i am reading where the majority of the country, 
(based on the latest poll without bias fear or favor)
thinks we should move (you know, the majority 
has to be right) even if it is plus or minus three percent

well i dont think so (not a bit)
and i wont (not in the slightest)
i knew home, here first time i visited
wandering the streets in dark awe
and it took me 37 or 38 (dont remember) more 
years to get back here to home

can you move early mornings
(or parties) or formally dressed people 
in early evenings riding on the streetcar

(pack up audubon park and the 
oaks on st charles and carrollton)

café du monde coffee
does not travel well (no matter how many 
cans we sold to the tourists)

you think to move the breeze off the ponchatrain (at eleven pm 
I pay twenty dollars and go inside tips and stagger out with drunk
friends at three and me exhausted with a head full of music) move
tipitinas or henry roland byrds corpse or the streetcars

how to move st louis no 2 and lafayette no 1
move lestat and louis to the west coast with anne 
(lestat aint moved cuz i saw him slipping home the 
other night blood on his chin and a gleam in his eye)

(you going to move the flambeaus) and if you do
who will throw the quarters in the street (what 
are you going to get dr john to sing about)

like old sutcliffe on the evening news
fuck you, if you want me out of then 
come on (but i doubt you tote me off)
hearts dont move, breezes blow where 
they are, and henry roland byrd will 
hang around a bit with the aak trees
and dr john

New Orleans No 4

something left behind is not abandoned
you leave a piece and you take a part in place 
of what is left behind you take the memory (an oak 
on st charles?) a warmth drifting slowly inside you 
and leave the haze of your remembering (a love?) a ghost 
speaking softly in the core of the oak, in the heart of a love

a city with experiences like a musician straining into the 
horn for the special note that will tell this moment what all 
moments before were like you cannot leave music behind it 
lingers like smoke on your clothes trapped by damp like love 
forgotten but not quite yet or ever like warm sunshine burning 
off the rivers fog, fog and memory and music lingering a while yet

a sailor in awe of the wet darkling night wanders through the lace 
iron balcony streets the smells from the restaurants and the music drive him to the river and then draw him past the statue of jackson then somewhere in an alley near where governor nichols meets rampart st the sailor has his cock sucked in a slate stooped doorway hunching forward with a hand over his eyes a beautiful woman mouth full kneeling in front fondling her large penis as she sucks gently her eyes intent on his face uncomfortable with splattered rain and guilt

a city from love held with loves wet longing chill damp between 
the legs long after the love is but something else love does go but what was love lingers like a well known friend who causes the 
heart to lurch when least expected loves trusted ally memory
hanging about like someone who wants to borrow money

four runaways on the way to mexico to live on the beach (eat 
papayas smoke pot and take smack) spend the night in an old 
hotel on st charles (in the morning hitching a ride to galveston 
with two peace corps volunteers) in the moist night they make love under a slowly revolving fan hanging from the ceiling until all have emptied themselves into everyone else (in the warm night gnawing
hard at the thick rich meat of lust) the next night they sleep warm in sleeping bags under evangelines oak (immune to the mosquitos 
whine) resting quietly from the feast of the night preceding 

all who pass leave a shape, an etching, a mark, a scar, a blemish
two lovers that sit sipping lattes and watching the ships pass
one lover explaining to the other what it is like to be a sailor

the middle aged man who lived for the sound 
of the quakers squall in the morning waking to
think that he had been a fool to be done with love
driving off ten to causeway and into metairie with 
a smile that would widen to a grin as he drove nearer
feeling heat but more than heat feeling joy fondling 
the heat as the joy caressed him from inside living with 
a deep breath of wonder at the ability to simply smile

New Orleans No 5

waiting the evening in lustful anticipation, hungry for darkness 
slowly poaching in the wet heat, thirsting for evenings cool
dark night with cold gin taste, swallowed in a dry throat
icily stoking a fire in the belly, fueling the scorched heart to ash

night a sharp penetration, entering days abandoned space
coils over the river to the oaks, dusks consummation
behind garden walls laughter, tinkling ice cubes against
sharp whispers, backdrop to the dark closing in
the oak trees branches reaching out, night welcoming
the clutch of their embracing, the pinched threat of eternity

slow hesitant breath, motion almost hidden in the shadows,
a silk dress raised to the hip above the thigh, sliding upward
palm cupping a breast, fingertips brushing below the swell of belly,
ass cupped brutally and raised, cock squeezed and pressed hard to belly
to a licked tongue stifled moan, nights crush of the larynx, 
a sudden jerk in the shadows, moist silky intensity
white arms clutch to shoulders, handbag by the soft leather shoe, 
stifled cry of hunger without hope, body pulled hard stretched wide,
yawning filled to brimming, torn open like a wolf riven sheeps belly

waking cold in the dawn garden, alone seeing nothing 
old weeds cradling a ruined house, broken glass the rusted gate
yawning windows, mouth full with taste, 
stained white shirt, nails caked and fingers smeared
dizzy drunk and unsteady, staggering home in the dawn
tossing in sweated dreams, waking in twisted sheets to the night 

waiting the evening in lustful anticipation, hungry for darkness 
slowly poaching in the wet heat, thirsting for evenings cool
dark night with cold gin taste, swallowed in a dry throat
icily stoking a fire in the belly, fueling the scorched heart to ash

New Orleans No 6 

allons danse
and the strutting 
flambeaus stoop for the crowd
tossed quarters as they light
the way of the leviathan
down napoleon street

allons danse
i was knocked out loaded 
on magazine and on prytania
stumbling home to
lock myself in 
the delicious arms
of early morning sleep

allons danse
throw me something mister
et tu, your turn
les bon temps roulez
(raised blouse and pretty
bare breasts) THROW ME

allons danse, allons danse
(toss a quarter 
in the street)

allons danse, allons danse
(stumble home 
knocked out loaded)

allons danse, allons danse
(show your tits 
pretty momma)

allons danse
(catch the beads 
as they are thrown)

allons DANSE! 

New Orleans No 7

i sit behind audubon zoo on the
levee watching the ships move up
and down river. their steel bodies
struggle with the currents, straining
to steady themselves in it as they pass. 
i watch, knowing those things that only 
a seaman knows about rivers, about
leaving as you float southward to the sea.
standing at the rail or on the bridge
releasing the land and love and close
friends for a time. only to return up river
stepping on shore again to be reunited
with the smell of shrimp and garlic wafting
out of mandinas as you linger on the sidewalk
sipping beer, waiting for a table. to fall in love
again and taste delicately the soft hollow of a
womans neck as the mist heralds the early morning.

the british soldier creeping down the levee in 
the morning mist near what would someday be 
Chalmette held his cartridge box to prevent
noise, his troop moving with muffled steps
toward the lines of men, hunched fearfully behind 
breastworks. his movement heard, he died, his 
body rolling down the levee to the river 
floating south to become the ocean, having let 
go of land and love and close friends not 
to return or to be reacquainted with anything
that had to do with life or the land. not to taste
again orange or beef or the soft palmed caress of 
a young girls hand. dead. he no longer heard cannon 
fire or the screams of killing or the moans of love.

in the night on magazine and on tchapitoulas
(wonderful names) you can hear the horns of the
ships as their lights flash on the river. passing to
the wide sea or fighting their way up to cairo illinois
and memphis tennessee and st louis missouri
towards chicago. returning smelling of salt and
smoke with something in the heart from far away. 

in 1873 a seaman from new orleans, who sailed 
after killing a man near perdido street was rescued, 
clinging to a spar alone, the only survivor of a ship lost 
in a storm. a band greeted him on the dock as he came
down the gangway from the steamer that had saved
him, made a hero by failing to die. he returned to life
and love and the land, to be reacquainted with the spice
taste of freshly chewed sugar cane on a womans lower lip 
and the fresh ocean taste between her legs.

New Orleans No 8

(in the wake of hurricane katrina)

I. jack

jack is tall with light tan skin maybe thirty handsome except for the wild hunters look in his eyes his speech is grammatical and slowly articulate 

it was hard the first time
to take something that way

we all said that whacking 
an old person was hard

they smell bad and they
dont have much money

but in time the shrieks 
the moans were simply 

encouraging (bigboy threw 
that child off the balcony) 

he later said he didnt
but (he did)

we did not need the stuff we didnt 
know what we would do with the stuff

except (the guns) we knew
we were the same afterwards 

killing and the taking leaving no mark
we threw most of the stuff away

once the army came just dumping it
the soldiers in the dome were scared

with their guns they were shitting 
themselves we laughed at the one

who turned his back as we dragged her
across the floor chevron kicking her

in the ass with his heavy boots
ma-n but it was a rush

it got under your skin and itched
that night we got into the super dome yeah

we took one fucking her on the floor 
in the filth each of us riding her twice

she stopped screaming after the first 
of us punched her in her face just whimpered 

jacen woke her up some when he plugged
her (ma-n that dog got a huge dick)

but we lost interest in her pretty quick
smeared some of the shit 

from the floor on her face 
and left her there 

i kicked her in the head pretty hard
as we left feeling bone break

it felt pretty good and now after i am okay 
I dont want any more but i dont regret 

the taste i had 
it tastes pretty good

II. bebop

bebop is nineteen with straw blond hair, piercings in his eyebrows, nose, and lower lip doesnt say much but once the words come they are rapid i get to put three tears on my cheek he says glancing shyly at me as if for approval three of them and they warnt children either or geezers hell one of had a gun hisself (bebob takes lots of speed) you shouldnt ever have tuh see what i seen in memorial they was eight of us came up jes for the hurricane to have some fun and party and we brought a couple of pieces
(we got more later from the west bank) you know they said they closed the bridge but I got back and forth twice second night I was on bienville and i realizes that memorial is empty i go in to look for shit but there is nothing but what I saw in there you should nevuh see and that is when i took down the first close up to him and watched the bright red stuff from his head splatter and then took his woman across him lying there stupid asshole wandered around with just a little popgun .38 shot her when I was done and wiped my dick on his face what was left of it mostly after that we drove around in our trucks shooting at shit saw the cops now and then but not much we left town when the army was gonna come home now i fuck my wife scold the kids and go to work we livin.

New Orleans No 9 

new orleans dresses up, wears a mask
struts around town proudly
me the head you the middle he the end

new orleans drinks all night
head reeling from a deep breath in the bathroom 
new orleans does things that arent remembered

it all rushs out the end of your cock new orleans
pushes you against the filthy bathroom wall
then forces you the dusty smell of plaster in your nose

a whip falls and the sharp cut makes you gasp in anticipation

new orleans wears leather, carries handcuffs
takes, does not forgive, splitting upward, new orleans
shrieks in painful ecstasy, exploding and dripping down

new orleans is up all night, never sleeps,
eats breakfast, shits itself, and smokes cigars
new orleans pissing into any open mouth it can

Post comments about these poems at the truetales blog.

The first eight poems in this sequence were originally posted on a New Orleans e-mail list from September 9 to 14. They are reprinted with permission of the author. The ninth poem was written for this magazine.

About the Author

Copyright © 2005 Master Sade. All rights reserved.
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