New Orleans

New Orleans
by Carl Josehart

20 feet below sea level
like the lost city of Atlantis
lies a city
in a constant state of
elegant decay
swampy soil
to reclaim the city
from its human inhabitants

buildings crumble
engulfing structures
in green
blankets of moss

the constant need for
human effort
fights against
sub tropic
heavy air

Sipping sweet tea
sweet gum trees
it would be easy
to succumb
to the sweet siren’s cry

to sit idly by
tender green shoots
push through concrete
gnarled brown roots
roll away sidewalks
silty soil
digesting civilization

pulled back from the brink
and again
the second line
joyously singing
”laissez les bons temps rouler!”

”Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air—moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh—felt as if it were being exhaled into one’s face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing. Honeysuckle, swamp flowers, magnolia, and the mystery smell of the river scented the atmosphere, amplifying the intrusion of organic sleaze. It was aphrodisiac and repressive, soft and violent at the same time. In New Orleans, in the French Quarter, miles from the barking lungs of alligators, the air maintained this quality of breath, although here it acquired a tinge of metallic halitosis, due to fumes expelled by tourist buses, trucks delivering Dixie beer, and, on Decatur Street, a mass-transit motor coach named Desire.” 

― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume


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