Tuesday, April 01, 2014


Morning.  Neither jazz nor blues.
Just river, sun ascending
like a memory.  This is peace,
this river, this city, this crawl
into daylight.  An early stroller
passes.  Two days from now,
someone will jump from
the pier, be rescued.  The woman
who stumbled, drunk, from
St. Louis Cathedral wasn’t looking
for salvation, nor jazz.  She was
waiting for Katrina, the erasure
of world.  Clean slate, old habits,
clean slate.  At midnight, on Bourbon
Street, the bangles glide through
the air, like poker chips.  It’s all
a gamble, a bet on the lyrics and
the moment.  When the moment
arrived, no one was prepared, like
that moment when you returned
to the war and the enemy was
everywhere and death was chance,
or a wrong decision.

From New Orleans, I drove north,
arrived in Washington, walked along
the National Mall, found the black wall.
My fingers traced names
I didn’t recognize.  And yet, and yet,
the stars are white crosses in Arlington,
graffiti scratched into stone as a testament
to those moments when hurricanes
ravage both bodies and minds.  The next
morning, I returned to Canada, the land
which we think is not at war.  In Kitchener,
snow persevered, white tears on
a veil of useless words.

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