Passing gazes, Intimate questions with Strangers in the street. This is what it means to be from New Orleans. Walking by, visitor, where are you from? Are you a saint or a ghost? What do you hope to see here, What magic do you seek, What remedy will make you whole?
You ask to take my photo, A thin rectangle appears. I tell you to please keep it.
This past weekend’s Hurricane Party Skate gang is Sola, Samuel, and Swamp Bunny
Wake on Alligator’s couch Sweet voices from the shower You have a soft side Sola, My Best friend with her fiancé, Cheshire Cat. I am glad he treats you well You rise together early morning Playful in the shower
When I’m with you we Pass the best days of my life We spin dizzy colors Bleed together and Sting my eyes This is Not a Drill I am in Love with Mr. Alligator And he is your fiance’s best friend
It is July there is a Hurricane in the gulf Soon we will feel the sky shaking Hide in Uptown, New Orleans I know I am not Safe here yes, I am better off by my parent’s up North Yet here I am and can you guess why? I long to sleep tonight in the quiet dip in the sofa Where you rest your head when you come Home, Alligator, I long to stay by our friends Dysfunction and drugs and playing The Game yes, I love you in plain sight
In the mid morning Sola and I wander to Tree of Life to Pray for Rain to Cleanse our Sins We pose each other in hot pics For Insta she plants palms in Damp peat moss in decay she Kicks her feet up in an arc Handstand against a low branch Yoga, muscles, and curves Unapologetic #ThirstTraps
We suffocate as we heal as Tree of Life Tosses Spanish Moss in my open diary Throw me something Ma’am I take the moss home with me, because You gave yourself of your free will Unto me, you placed yourself inside My diary you demand to lounge Deep in my unconscious and you Surface in my dreams in Sexual fantasies I enjoy Thinking of Alligator when I am with His Best Friends I am Aroused by the idea Of them feeling envious of our Tense desire our burning eyes
Tree of Life commands us to Weave Magic Into the tapestry Into the sky Sola and I gather moss for spell work For darker days
I ascend her Straddle her solid beneath me “Girl You’ve Got To Trust Her Or this will never work okay?” Palms on bark, focus on her branch In my eyes of ancients past I’ve gotta trust what is directly in front There is no fear in this moment “I can’t look down or surely I will fall.” Succumb to flying to Standing on tippy toes to Steal a Kiss her sun kissed leaves Leave her blushing you always Leave me wanting more But you’re not here, are you Mr. Alligator? And so I climb her more.
Back home it is late, late Samuel turns off the TV and Hushes the boys to let me sleep In the nook of your body’s heat I still feel you here You slept here weeks ago When are you coming home?
The next night we discover an Alien Planet Rich folk’s grass The good kind on the Golf Course at Audobon Park Carpet exposes we are miniatures Ant specks crawling under a Purple and orange sky observes Ancient oaks pause Here and there as a Humble Hurricane passes by He arrives in finality and marvels Me and the Gang Break Federal Curfew Indulge in rebellion Punk Rock jacket I created To show you who’s boss I am the #SwampThot Sola takes a photo of me Stretched seductively Across the slick keep- out sign We give Zero Fucks Piss on the pampered lawn of Old Money New Orleans Generations of dirty Money Lavishness fetishized from the Blood and sweat of Slaves, Walking home on St. Charles A blacked out car skids by Samuel says they “must be moving A couple Kilos.” Since “now would Be the perfect time.” Says a cop Follows in disguise.
Back home: Samuel presents a Fancy case his wide smile with a flourish says “Swamp Bunny, You Need To Smell This Weed” My face betrays my repulsion my Lack of experience with his decadence Unintentionally personal insult He has lost the ability to relate that I cannot be impressed I make a Mental note to tell Alligator, He will be in stitches over this one.
Morning and Sola, Samuel and I blade Audoban park in full lucidity Of daylight we are The Coolest Kids you’ll ever see Who wouldn’t kill to hang with us? Rushing past Blaring Nasty music Dressed to Impress Styled to Terrify Moves to Testify Samuel says he feels like he’s flying I say I feel alive
Afternoon and we encounter a Vigilante Weatherman At The Fly on the Mississippi River, says He prefers to be called an Armature Storm Chaser I could not resist asking about His homemade wind sock Broken Sexton from Party City after Halloween Sale Red Hair and freckles, eyes squint Points to the Eye of the Storm In the distance Draws us a diagram on a Stained Chinese Takeout Menu I dare not correct him, bite my tongue Struggle to keep from laughing that Everything he has said is wrong, wrong, wrong.
The sweetest moment the Hard candy on my tongue Was a 5 word text from my Alligator “I hope you’re staying dry.”
Night falls: Cheshire cat shows me Patient bubbles in molten Butter teaching me to make Edibles Sickly Golden Marshmallow and 90s children’s cereal Always Watching Everything and Everyone He takes it all in, I wonder Does he have a choice? I wonder Can he rest at night?
Hurricane Barry 2019 I spent with My Best Friend Sola, with Samuel and Cheshire Cat, cuddled in my Crush’s bed
And here in my palm, I take home a mason jar of Hurricane Water I gathered in heavy mugs On the brick by her potted garden Sola adds Brandy to keep it fresh Now colors honey sharp to save for Witchcraft for dry days One for me and one for you. And a boy for me and a boy for you. How could I want for more.
Obsession dissolves a piece of cotton candy, sweet and lingering so sweet I am blushing your glance leaves me burning
I dare not speak. I dare reach out and touch your face and trace fingers over your lips. I dare kiss you. I dare open my vaulted heart.
I double dare you to run away to disappear into the fire, dancing and engulfed, your laughter echoes through the night I remember you beaming, eyes shining. White wolves and prancing deer high into the mountain tops. I hear you singing.
I dare you to take my hand, Stop running, Come back home.
I want to wake up each day to your sweet face and ruffled hair. I want to hold you. I need you to kiss my hands and hold me until I release into your arms, dare to allow you to comfort me. I want to pick blueberries with you in the summertime, Louisiana sticky heat. Welcome home. Walk the marshes with me, carrying a white candle, blessed by the Arch Bishop. Your head bowed in prayer, the Spanish moss filtering light to your green beanie, your flushed cheeks, your confessional.
Tell me all you are afraid of and all you desire to be forgiven.
Lay your head in my lap as we float down the dark Bayou Sauvage, idle and savoring the unquestionable hold of warm water. Drink in the smell of decay, honeysuckle scent of new life. Let me run my nails through your hair. Let me love you here.
I dare you to surrender with me I dare you to stay.
Here I lie it is 2019 and I never imagine things would come full circle with myself alone in perfect symmetry in the middle of my bed, an enchanted room I have created and in which I make magic in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Half of me is lit by Magdalena’s dancing flame, a soft gold as I fall asleep, the other side lit by white roaring lighting, wild and loud. And all the while my lost love Maynard chanting and this magic builds in my delicious room. Mer de Noms on shuffle and no, I am not triggered at all. I shine. Basking and swelling, humming prayers as I slip into sleep.
Sweet child, if you could only see me now. Maybe you do, maybe that’s why you hold on.
Saturday, sacred night Sola and I go to the Marigny to Lower Decatur in the French Quarter, we walk 7 blocks through our dirty streets it is a warm February night it is a young night yet. We wear our best and most extravagant and weird and sexy and wrong. We are attending the infamous Krewe Du Vieux parade, it is Carnival Season in New Orleans, Louisiana
There are saints in white and gold lace dripping from crowned heads they are blindfolded they hold scales and are lit with soft glowing lights in their hair, they are Dr. Sandra Ford, Lady Justice. They peer knowingly at the crowd and slowly march past with a solemnness that is unusual for a parade like this. In dizzying contrast, next arrives a giant paper-mache Putin holding a baby Trump like a tiny screaming sock puppet meanders by, fist in ass. Next is a float and marchers that parody the construction issues in NOLA they carry signs that say on one side “stop” and on the back “twerk”, and the crowd, eager for revelry, obeys the turn of the signs as squealing women wearing nothing but caution tape march past.
Nuns and priests and the pope himself saunter by with paddles, spanking the crowd’s asses if you bend over to receive.
They hand out weed wrappers and lube and all handmade throws. The parade is entirely walking, save for small human or mule drawn floats.
We get drinks, a whiskey and ginger ale for me and a vodka cranberry for Sola at a new “goth” bar, used to be Pravda so long ago, used to be a lesbian Riot Grrl bar before that, Sola says. Inside men place themselves close to me at the bar side, inviting a hello from me as I ignore and turn to my best friend. Not out of boredom or lack of attraction, but not wanting to deal with men lately. Outside, and a tall and handsome punk man with a lavender mohawk, not spiked, jokes with us and playfully flirts.
I fall in love with Sola over and over again I watch out for her when she goes to the restroom and we talk about fear of men. Katie joins us, she is so small in the crowd and can’t see the parade. Eventually I help her to the front, and she is alive, a local through and through. Archer and Edward join us, both a little insecure but radiating anxious smiles, and I am thrilled to see them. Next floats by an alien in bondage with a giant green penis, gagged and hung high above the crowd, Sola and I scream and beg to be abducted. It says, “In space, no one can hear your safe word.” Sola gives her weed wrappers to Archer, her fiance, and hands a couple packs of them to a fellow parade goer behind her because at Carnival we share.S
Edward, strange but kind. Sweet but not forcing his charm. Authentic. Small diamond earrings, nice shoes, some type of chain around his neck but under his tee shirt, peeking as it lays across his neck and collarbones. Skin of his kind face a little affected by faking many smiles.
Says people don’t respect new money but he is just as excited to tell us all about his pet bird.
Does not pretend to be tough or to be a good guy. They ask us girls if we want to go to their office in the CBD and hang out on the rooftop patio, with a view of the whole city. They offer us beers and iced coffee on tap.
How. Could. I. Say. No.
We walk and walk and the crowd fades from locals to tourists, Sola and I climb the streetlights and she twerks and tourists want to stay a bit longer in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m jumping and climbing on anything I can, and we arrive at a chic building, elevator up, up, on a sterile and dead quiet shared office space. All windows, all glass you can see everything, dozens of rooms, floors and stairs up and down and real succulents it is a jungle it is empty and horrifying and I am lost and I want to cry I am stuck on a landing the doors are locked it’s glass all around me and drop off to floor so so far below there is nowhere to hide I hear Sola calling I don’t know where, an infinite soft echo her voice a hallucination. In my head I imagine myself folding and crumpling and crying and hair messy and makeup running and Edward or Archer finding me and consoling me and telling me it’s all going to be okay and they pick me up and just hold me.
Here this is my reason to cry, here I have found my chance. A valid reason to request comfort. A fear you can see and measure.
Sola finds me and we ascend to the rooftop patio, I awake to a perfect mist a gray embrace holding the skyscrapers together, remaining in comfort the Holy Ghost, lingering low and spending time with the children. The city on fire of mist and the fog illuminated by the shallow and excited breathing of our shared ecstasy, wild beauty.
Sola is so beautiful; this light does her justice and I insist on taking photos of her and she offers to take some of me. I hear a voice calling and Archer hears it also, a person stands somewhere in the infinite possibility of surrounding sky scrapers, with infinite reasons to be speaking into the darkness. On a ledge near the edge I lie flat on my back and push up, hands and feet and back curved high, I enter a full and deep wheel, with my leg and toe extended directly up.
This electricity carries us to Archer’s car where we enter and they play loud 90s rap
andKatie rises like the moon, like the irrepressible sun, refusing to stay quiet, through the window and shouts at the tourists,
the passerby through the CBD and French Quarter and we laugh and laugh until we are all hoarse and Archer is so happy and I scream a joke at a cute Pedicab driver and we laugh and all go home and sleep very, very, deep and well.
There exists a part of me in terror in Archer’s car with Edward up front and I think of what they could do and if I am in danger and I tell myself that one is Sola’s fiancé and the other a close friend and Katie and I will be okay and I choose to let those thoughts pass by and I cannot lie that part of that fear is thrilling too.