chipped tooth Aug 14

There is a girl called Southern Ugly,
She often faces the mirror- Believing
that the reflection must be oneself.

But a woman’s essence
Lives in the light, not in our eyes.
Mother Mary, dressed in blue-

Your daughter sees her face, knowing
That she is not first to be saved for Heaven.
We come second to God

(Though Man did not refuse the apple).
Mother said, “You are a southern belle,
Just baptized in the bayou.

Virgin in the water,
The depths of the swamp do not foster
Power nor Fortune

But your birth, the prayer of the Moon.
And like a cypress knee
That has not yet broken the surface,

You’re hidden in wisdom unknown."

chipped tooth Jul 13

Nature, too, is self-consuming.
Even the grandest oak
of all southern Louisiana
will be uprooted in a hurricane.
The moss that grazes the water
with gentle finger tips
from those weary branches
will be swallowed by the water.
An old man's life spent in Houma
is reflected in the river currents;
his house built on stilts
across from the cemetery
where is wife is buried
next to her eldest son.
It meets the Mississippi
not surrendering,
returning

chipped tooth Jul 13

Tiny ankles hang down from a wooden bridge over the bayou-
and my friend and I stare at the black water
and point at all the furniture legs jetting out of the blackness
as if they were Cyprus knees—
and he says to me  “Someone said there’s at least a hundred bodies in there”
and without hesitation or a moment of silence
for the uncertain yet forgotten Dead
I say, “Bodies float, so we would see them if that were true”
and he replied,  after a brief moment of thought,
“Maybe they’re tied to all the couches or stuffed in the refrigerators”  
and I couldn’t believe how many house hold appliances
have been repurposed to host all these passed souls
in the bowels of the swamp
and with a swing of my leg, too swift—
my left shoe dropped  and hovered on the water
where lily pads should have been

It's 10 pm and the heat just hit me
The AC is off but I couldn't be more happy
Touched my first palm tree and dipped my hand in the toilet
Grabbed a cab to the city, on the seat there was a death threat
For breakfast we had Bananas foster, po'boys and hash brown
When Amanda power walked I had to tell her to slow down
By the Mississipi river I drank a peach daquiri
The waitress wanted more tips and across the streets she chased me
Strippers gave me the finger, lesbos begged for dildos
We were stuck in traffic cause of the constant flash floods
In a Camaro and a Werewolf to creep with vampires and slaves
Talking about plantations by the old family graves
And you were so beautiful under that big oak tree
Even more in the rain outside that locked cemetery
On Bourbon street the homeboys were asking for hugs
And I gave away all my coins to some thugs
We ate jambalaya and fried green tomatoes
The ladies were halfnaked but no one called them hoes
In a blacksmith shop with no electricity
We drank Morgan and got wasted with some other swedes
Wherever we went we felt the smell of weed
From every balcony people were throwing beads
All the dirty sounds were drowned out by the air condition
On the floor Hoyt from True Blood was changing positions
Then Chris slept like a baby when the cockroach sang him lullabies
For some reason it made more sense than "bridge may ice"

Whistle at that graveyard
It's a night trip, baby
It's a skip of a beat away
Second line witches in the hour
Covering headstones in roses
Around and around
So the haints forget they dead
Don't worry if they follow
You Back
Life is for
The drink and mocking death


© Derek Devereaux Smith 2015, 2016

Down in the bayou where the mangroves grow
There's talk of black voodoo, like Marie Leveau
The Swamp Witch, is legend, she has magic so black
That those who have seen her, have never come back
There;s tales of the noises that come from the dark
Of werewolves and zombies as rough as the bark
The mangroves are sentinels, to where the magic resides
Where even a longboat has no room to glide
Bodies go missing from the graveyards most nights
And there's always a fog shading the fireflies lights
The Swamp Witch is ruler and Queen of this world
Where souls are all taken and spines can be curled
They say that she came here from Canadian lands
She was a metis they say, from the Western Tar Sands
A mystic by nature, a dark witch by blood
She lives deep in the swamp, protected by gators and mud
The gators respect her, they do as she bids
They keep watch on the waters, they're her reptillian kids
She keeps zombies as gendarmes, collecting bodies to turn
Just how black is her magic, no one can discern
The Swamp Witch is legend, she is as old as all time
The air in the bayou is as thick as the slime
The cajuns say voodoo is the core of her heart
They avoid fishing where the mangrove trees start
The Swamp Witch, a legend ? or is she truly the Queen
She's the Louisiana Witch, no one survives once she's seen.....

It's 10 pm and the heat just hit me
The AC is off but I couldn't be more happy
Touched my first palm tree and dipped my hand in the toilet
Grabbed a cab to the city, on the seat there was a death threat
For breakfast we had Bananas foster, po'boys and hash brown
When Amanda power walked I had to tell her to slow down
By the Mississipi river I drank a peach daquiri
The waitress wanted more tips and across the streets she chased me
Strippers gave me the finger, lesbos begged for dildos
We were stuck in traffic cause of the constant flash floods
In a Camaro and a Werewolf to creep with vampires and slaves
Talking about plantations by the old family graves
And you were so beautiful under that big oak tree
Even more in the rain outside that locked cemetery
On Bourbon street the homeboys were asking for hugs
And I gave away all my coins to some thugs
We ate jambalaya and fried green tomatoes
The ladies were halfnaked but no one called them hoes
In a blacksmith shop with no electricity
We drank Morgan and got wasted with some other swedes
Wherever we went we felt the smell of weed
From every balcony people were throwing beads
All the dirty sounds were drowned out by the air condition
On the floor Hoyt from True Blood was changing positions
Then Chris slept like a baby when the cockroach sang him lullabies
For some reason it made more sense than "bridge may ice"

Brent Kincaid Feb 2016

In old New Orleans
Musical lumberjacks
Legitimizing their axes;
Just piano, clarinet,
Bass and the drums.
Bringing jazz back
And then some.

The cat could play
That skinny long black horn,
Hotter clarinet than
Anybody ever born,
He kept hitting notes
So pure and high
We felt each note
In our eyes!

And, if you chance by
Remember this,
They don’t allow dancing.
But when the drummer
Makes works those skins
And makes them talk out
There is plenty of toe-tapping
And nobody ever walks out.

Then, when the guy
Plays that bass fiddle
He adds an underscore
To top bottom and middle.
It’s an underbeat of grace
That will fill the rest space
And the hearts of all
In this overcrowded place.

Vintage jazz roars out
Of an old, old piano
Played by a happy madman
With fingers afire, he knows
He’s got them hooked;
He’s making them wild
As he wails on those keys
He looks out and smiles
And he puts the Satchmo touch
On those old-timey songs

And once in a while
They ask us to sing along.
For the past forty-six years
Those ugly plastered walls
Have never hear so many
Gratefully rendered curtain calls
From an audience of clerks and swells.
On Bourbon Street’s Fritzel’s.
Through hurricanes and beers
Like stepping back a hundred years.
Fats is still playing, Bessie singing
Original jazz music is still swinging.

A hurricane approaches the shores.
The winds are already ripping away limbs.
Nature in furious concert
rarely has audience save for a nest tucked away
in the trunk of an oak
old and strong, but too proud.

Little bird, little bird,
bear witness
to the scale tipping
by the universal need for destruction.
The home may
betray
and fall.


© Derek Devereaux Smith 2015, 2016

Isaac Middleton Feb 2016

a wise old sage from Louisiana, smoking cigarettes,
—which i stole one from that same pack later that day
and smoked it and almost threw up
behind the kind old episcopal woman’s house,
who the sage and i were living with in Memphis in july,
because we both were working on a stage somewhere in town
and we needed a place to stay a while, to watch summer rise from spring,

and i needed a place for you to fuck me,
     my phantom,
     you, who, countless times, the Louisianan sage warned me about,
and the old episcopal woman hopefully knew nothing about,

   who, chanting truths of freedom and songs of singularity,
      white-haired, rose-gardening,
solitary and
    alone and
       buried alive
    in the walls of her house,
surrounded by her memories,
like the coffee mugs i accidentally stole
    when I left in August,
which, as it turns out, they were heirlooms of her dead mother’s—
    i cracked them all, i believe—

the louisianan sage, who once tasted the sweat of New Orleans’ blues jazz soul,
      now sitting across from me in the episcopal lady’s back porch,
                sipping coffee from one of her mugs
that i eventually took and inevitably cracked,
      this sage told me wide-eyed through cigarette smoke,
              seeing visions in the june blue sky,
‘the truth hurts. but a lie hurts more.’

the smoke rose to the clouds above our heads
like a sacrifice to god, and i rose with it,
and told him about september eighteenth.

and what it felt like to die
and come here.

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