In The Heart Of The Night

In the city of my birth,
On the third floor of Beckham’s Book Shop,
Surrounded by stacks of books I can only dream of reading every title,
Falling asleep on this worn out couch,
The musty smell making me dizzy.

They call it ‘the city that time forgot’ and continues to forget as we saw with Katrina,
Or the ‘crescent city’ for the bend in the river which Bienville saw as strategic,
Many nights I walked that same bend along the railroad tracks by the river’s edge,
Drinking hot beer procured from the abandoned Jax Brewery,
Oblivious to the rich history I was born into.

Wandering these streets of the French Quarters,
Past the painters, fortune tellers and street musicians trying to make a dollar,
I find myself in St. Louis Cathedral staring at the stained glass,
The pipe organ playing Bach while someone is blowing a horn in Pirates Alley,
Both melding into a complexed whole, as candles from the altar, burn our sins away.

So many nights strolling down Bourbon Street in a haze,
How many ghosts have crossed my path this night,
Dripping in the humid air of summer is like breathing thru syrup,
Or the damp cold of winter cutting you to the bone.

Growing up we’d take the Algiers Ferry across the river to the West Bank,
When night falls on a full moon you can see the city’s horizon shimmering on the water,                                                                                                                          

I think we only leave home so we can love it all the more.
It is then I understand this longing I feel for my city by the river,
You never really get over it, just strike an uneven peace between the heart
and head.


*Photo courtesy of Pixabay

19 thoughts on “In The Heart Of The Night

  1. First let me say that I love the song, “Heart of the night” so have just enjoyed that.
    You write about your roots, your place of birth, New Orleans- Crescent city.
    I always used to think of it as a city of music but I feel there are darker sides to it from your writing.
    I love this extract ” The pipe organ playing Bach while someone is blowing a horn in Pirates Alley, ” . That shows the strong diversity. And the mighty river. Slow and majestic.
    I believe those places make their home in our hearts as you saw on my blog post a couple of days ago where I oddly wrote on the same subject. Just not the same place.:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Miriam, Yes, NewOrleans is a culture of music but so much more. My post is just a reflection on scenes from my own orbit of growing up. I’ve been gone so long that now i see it with eyes wide open and I appreciate my roots so much more.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. A beautiful image of the night. New Orleans. I remember driving past it across Lake Pontchartrain and thinking of this song. It was on a night in mid-November I finally visited the city. Peering in the window of the Preservation Jazz Hall, a tiny storefront then—three old guys on banjo clarinet and drums tapping away in ragtime. Later, hiding in an alley from the young kid trying to traffic me to his friends at one of the gay clubs. He went running past calling out “Pablo! Pablo!” as I quickly ducked out of the Quarter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful images throughout JC, both penned by you and created naturally and by man into a city. New Orleans is my favorite US city, and you are one of my fav bloggers, so this post brings me much joy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been to New Orleans once, and I remember the sticky heat. I’ll never forget it… as if it hasn’t really left me. Once you visit New Orleans, it forever clings. I can see what you mean, JC. You’ve described the city at night so perfectly, that it’s quite tangible to me. I feel as if we’ve walked down those streets together. Stunning piece. I never knew it was your home city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You describe it perfectly, like the thick air that clings to you, so does the city and your never the same. New Orleans is what’s called a ‘thin place’ meaning there’s a thin line between this world and the next one. So yes maybe we did walk those streets in another time and place. Kinda spooky!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats wild! Some astrophysics believe this might be happening right now. And even more the people in our lives in this parallel universe will be in the next one but there roles will change… your mother will be your sister and you will wonder why she bosses you around all the time. And you and I could be in that universe reading Baudelaire and Poe while walking up St. Charles Ave. And in this life, we’re two bloggers and by coincidence we discover that we both like Baudelaire and Poe. That is very cool.


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