Listen. Still streets awaken to motorized hums -
machinery scrubbing away evidence of alcoholic overindulgence
as sunlight dips fingers into louvered dormers and rues.
Most of the drunks have slipped into the terrible embrace
of awaiting hangovers as kitchen help shows up for work,
mill at side-doors, swap stories an' smoke
beneath lace embraced balconies, wrought-iron leaf doilies
that drape like Spanish Moss from swamp cypress.
It's another day - frozen moments
lost in this tired old lady's decadent dreams.
Hear the orchestral cacophony of conversations an' commerce -
the street-singin' hand-clappin' acapella quartet who
shoo-wappa woo-doo voodoos crowds of T-shirted tourists,
voices muffled by air so thick it tastes of Beignets and chicory -
while behind glass, white linen tabletops an' civilized service
separates sidewalk stares from bag-in-hand over-weights,
eyes on flash-cracking skies suddenly sunless -
raindrops silver bounce below rolling bowling ball thunder,
window signs announce 'Quitting Business - Final Days'.
Now, the clip-clop of mule-drawn carriages,
Creole Cruisers cart tourists through echoes of leftover Mardi Gras
in search of who-the-hell-knows-what.
Some watch pigeons perched top sagging shutters along Rue Royal;
listen to copper down-spouts gargle slate-roof runoff as
potted ferns and pampered flowers, flags all aflutter,
swing in the Zydeco music of New Orleans rain.
A coronet riff accompanies bags of brown onions
into Antoine's - quick to be sliced and diced.
Smell that Cajun Gumbo, Jambalaya an' Creole Cuisine.
At the corner, crowded with bellies bloated by beer,
there's always a drawl from some gas-lit doorway sayin',
"Mon back - ya'll, hear?"