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
*Photo courtesy of Pixabay