Who, you say? Who’s this Juan met? On no road he could tell
was there? Mercy, lord of heaven, land sakes alive . . . Ask Juan
why he’s going back to New Orleans alone now that he knows
Albuquerque’s turned into Gate City and the Big Easy now dry
is gonna turn the Ninth Ward, if money has its way someday,
into the world’s largest playground for impresarios of golf.
Ask Mr. Gennifer Flowers, Juan, you only remember her name
from Bubba days. Her hubby’s spearheading the golf bonanza.
Juan, I say, is gonna be looking high and low for someone
who knew my mama and can tell me where she’s buried
and if she’s still there now that the floodwaters have receded.
You know my friend Rocky tending bar at the Tipitina, down
on Tchoupitoulas, or is it still? This is my first time back in town
since mama died. Lisa Alvarado, you gotta forgive me for waiting
till now to tell you why I left without a word. It all came up at once
and stuck in my craw so bad I couldn’t help but pick up and leave,
and here I am driving all night and no sleep and who knows?
I may as well drive all day and night tomorrow and get there,
where home used to be, what’ll I feel or see or hear or how
in the world do I know I belong? I damn sure don’t want to go
too long, it’s already giving up too much to be away from you,
thinking of you back there sleeping where I could be beside you
and know I’m home, wherever you are. Lady love, I have to tell
myself I’m in no hurry, otherwise I could never keep on going
and for sure never long enough to find out what I came here for.
I had plenty of money, baby, I hope what I left will see you through
the time I’m gone. If there were anyplace north of New Orleans
worth a damn I’d stop and sleep and start off early all rested up
and like the poor boys say, rarin’ to go . . . pero basta! the jokes
are all on me until I get back to be with you and fill my arms up
with all you are and kiss you all over and love you now that I am
about to find out where my mama’s body was and if it’s still there.
(7 January 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander