New Orleans

Streets filled with trash from last night’s parade
Drunks and bums and punx from the gutter
stagger menacingly past
gaping-eyed tourists
bearing plastic cups foaming with beer
glowing colorfully with the gleam
of iced martinis
College kids partying and lonely horny women
searching for their mark
gather on rambunctious street corners
Beggars hold signs with
crude slogans
smiling around the gaps in their teeth
A homeless, deranged black man
shouting “Stupid nigger!”
at me as I pass him by
Jazz music gushes through
every open door
A burlesque stripper flirts with me
about poetry
before disrobing
She gets sloshes on absinth
and wants to dance to
the disco
The slot machine clashes and clunks as
we turn $40 into $200 in less than
ten minute’s time
but then lose it all
in less than five
Store fronts filled with jaw-dropping works of art
voodoo dolls and shirts with tits
Horses bound past with tourists
lounging in carriages that follow suit
For $10 a bicyclist gives us a ride in his carriage
to a jazz bar just
a few blocks away
from where we ate dinner
The snow is gone and
the bright-eyed, smiling tourists
and the shifty, fast-talking locals
are always out

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