Thursday, March 10, 2011

lost and found

I crawled out into the light of the morning, sunbeams stretching across an open sky, reaching for my face, my hands, every strand on my head, each eyelash, my body warming after a long, cold night. I unfolded myself and stretched out, listening to the waves of the Mississippi lap the shore. Blades of grass felt singular to my fingertips, early day silence broken by church bells and caliope practice. A bustle drifted across the wind, reminding me of the festivities around me. Looking across the swirls of currents, I wondered what the town across the river was like. Surely, it heard New Orleans waking up. Like me, it probably didn't get much sleep either. This city has a way like that, making vampires of us all.

I fumbled in my pockets, found a smoke and lit it. I exhaled and the smoke traveled upstream. Now was a good time for exploring, before the revelry starts again. Walking towards the market, I discovered unforgotten treasury in my pockets and thought of the only French I retained. Il est don mon poche. Enough for a tall boy, much needed. My hands had started their shaky dance and my eyes were swimming, unfocused and hazy, much like the days of my life. My senses working overtime as the smells from large pots of jambalaya and alligator on a stick stands filled my nose. Moving along the outskirts, I wandered past the cafe shaped like a giant cat, past wrought iron fences and fancy scrollwork framed houses, past the street cleaners and the broken beads. I drink the tall boy and feel the burn spread through my aching body. I had dreams about this city, fancy, scrollwork parades for Bacchus on cobblestoned streets, costumed, masquerading, top hats and stilt walkers, drum processions, laughing marionettes, galleries and VooDoo shops with gator paws and magic spells, dragon floats and papier mache heads bobbing, harlequins glittering, burlesque and sparkling, an extravaganza!

I drank them away with Turbo Dog and dirty boys, I drank them away on the muddy banks of the Mississippi, I drank them away in gondolas, alone. I drank away love and hope and friendships, I drank away the beads and the bustle and the street performers. I drank away possibilities and I drank away God.

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

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