Seersucker shirts and hand-rolled cigars,
hanky-heat faces gather at trolley stops
with "yo momma," or, "where y'at",
wait for the sound of approaching bells.
Perspiration, someone said, not sweat.
Magnolias bloom in the spring
when cicada sing in the trees
and old men dance in the street,
voices the music that moves feet.
Where shall we sleep tonight
when the rain comes
and no one cares about 'those people'
who can't afford a room for the night?
Will boat whistles call strong backs
as they did when the cotton was ready,
piled high at the docks and white
as old men's beards?
I hear Faulkner arguing about his rent
and the banjo-man changing a string.
Time for an afternoon nap in Jackson Square
or maybe just sit and watch the passing parade.
Might even see a real poet in New Orleans.