Sunday, September 2, 2007

Yankee Poetry

I wrote this for a poetry class that I have yet to complete. The emotions of the inner self can be so intense that they must be put aside for a while. This is the last poem I wrote; not quite a love poem, more an angry dirge. It's a first draft.

The Big Easy

Anger is a cloak, a burning cigarette, a dagger, a scarlet scarf
waved by a matador to goad a bull to its death.
Violent like the storm surge lashing the beach,
Lasting as the sledge that clogged Lake Ponchatrain,
Overflowing as the levee burst killing this old Creole city--
The birthplace of anger! Home of cloaks and daggers, Spaniards and cigarellos,
Unholy black masses, graveyards, orgies, careless emotions, fate and fortune-tellers.
Town of Cain, your brother’s blood cries from the ground
And your anger brings down a curse, a deluge.

Cain grew angry, seeing that God accepted his brother’s offering.
Envy and anger, twin furies. The first maiden of Orleans--- Jean d’Arc—was a warrior,
Angry but generous, jealous for God and for her king.
You envied Orleans, and Saint Joan, for its glory
But stolen pirate booty, not spoils of war, made you rich, king of the South.
There are no slave halls in Domremy: New Orleans, notorious killing field,
Your black brother’s blood cries out from the ground!

God looked down and saw the city.
In it was sin. The poor suffered, while casinos and prostitutes ate up the fat of the land.
Let us destroy that city, God said, and the pirates and gangsters lost a foothold in God’s country.
Sadly, the saints of New Orleans died that day. God’s poor, uncared for by their evil keepers, died of thirst on the causeway. They disappeared in buses, never heard from again.

New Orleans is gone now, scarlet city of the south.
It has gone to Texas, that dusty cattle-rustling, lynching land hated by God.
Why today do the floods swallow Texas?
God snuffs out the last cigarette of the tawdry ceremony,
A beer bottle and hurricane lamp drift along the lazy creek,
its swollen mouth spitting sludge on signs reading God Bless Texas and The South Will Rise Again.