Daughter of The Crescent City

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Daughter of the Crescent City

By Alexander Guinevere Kern

Copyright 1986


You are my Paradox, Bourbon Street!

Humid, sultry air rubs my shoulders,

Sinuous yellow light leaks

Under the varnished doors of bars,

pools in the gutter.


Jazz strains emit - dimming, now blaring

As bar doors smack open and shut

Their Darkened mouths. The street unfurls

A cobblestone tongue. Tourists - we trespass

the plain text of active corruption.


But I've seen it all before. I'm from Baltimore.


From every crevice the sound of vice escapes.

Chimneys harbor specters of pirate's old treacheries,

Chuff columns of perfidy skyward in code.

I pretend it is only smoke and not

The baking Souls of Antique Secrets.

Steps sprout old men, chins grizzly gray

Stale Kings of Chaos, eyes watering, whiskey-pouring pores,

Potent tobacco plumes up, aromatic as mince. They speak

In tongues of no religious nature. Local Wildlife.

They have forgotten desire, its fire.


You can't beat the sterling prices,

Or the haunted incense of Voodoo Queen candles.

I was carried, kicking, by a balloon-twisting Pirreoux,

Garish, Green & Orange plastic Mardi Gras bijoux,

I looked anorectic and hungry.


They tell you "Don't wander down Burgundy Street."

All drugs, thugs and tarts, illegal necessities,

Forked up like Spring Lotus and everywhere awful

With Balcony screamers, streaked needles, stripped streakers.

"Seen it all before, Girl. I'm from Baltimore."


Hand me my French Market java and Harlequinade,

Beignets folded napkin warm, my powdered sugar shock,

Tomato Festival jolly and jammed. Damned Vampire standing

Cheek to neck to jaw: the color red they're looking for

Is not for sale in those fruit stalls.


I've seen it all before. I'm from Baltimore.


Stroll by a late Waker, pissing up a wall,

I said, "Say, son, be moving! Cops is rolling in!"

He didn't hear me - all Four Eyes Blind. The Street

Is wet with metaphors, New Orleans Navigator,

Slipping in and out like the ships!


In Jackson Square a charcoal artist renders Moi,

A tanned Hard Hat Tomboy, for that is what I am,

Wife-beater T-shirt, clanking crosses, Gypsy jewels,

He sketched my Ambiguous Face, offered me a free glass

Frame. Through it clearly, I said, Non, Merci.


Seedy, reedy, smoky, needy, drunk, crazy, weed working

Lazy. The Party Town that never winds down, all the clocks

Are loaded, too. My Ballerina Boyfriend walked me in

Into incarnadine sin. Snaked out, some Freak relative

of Albert Gore, even had his name.


But I've seen it all before. I'm from Baltimore.


My greedy eyes absorb (as poets always)

That these buildings bulge with aging brick

Tiers of verandas, black cast iron

In writhing design. Geranium Clans in Cast

Wrap Party gather, chorusing stars of color.


And man, Bay-bee, it's HOT down here!

No one told me the sea salt sticks to sheets,

Wound up in my morning mashed hair look

Shroud Cloud, steaming like Monroe.

Even when you're dry, you're damp.


Your Hair is black like Forbidden, Body cut stern,

Spare like a Third Eye. Humor Words, Aura Spangling,

Nothing New Age, though. Dark as I painted Love,

Street Corner Dancer, even the Vampire want you,

But you've got a pulse, at least.


Hey! But I've seen it ALL before. I'm from Baltimore.


Suddenly something evocative . . . tender

Alters the chant of this alien City

A quaint Cajun girl, damp curls

Black as raisins circling her bonnet

white laced peasant blouse.


Curiously virginal, capers over the sidewalk,

Announcing incongruous innocence with each

Creamy Petticoat skip . . . rustle . . . step . . . rustle . . . step

Extends to passers-by smiling, one long delicate stem

her scarlet flower.

Submitted: March 21, 2018

© Copyright 2023 RexMundi555'.-. All rights reserved.

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