by William Gillespie and Dirk Stratton
Gumbo, your thick distillation of the sea helped us walk the uneven
streets and haul the books back to that hotel room we were slowly
transforming into a library. Mufaletta, your peculiar amalgamation of
red meat ferried us through the nether regions, as the lower Mississippi
passed large barges of waste. Anonymous dive, maybe called Half Shell,
we can never miss your neon gothic blackletter marquee, circular red
vinyl booths, candleholders, vases bearing pink flowers (I will miss the
flowers), corner with the upright video poker machines where no person
under the age of 18 is allowed inside, PLEASE SEAT YOURSELF, and your
small American flag which I know damn well denotes nothing for you.
Mardi Gras beads, ubiquitous tourist noose, economic mainstay, neon
boob-flash barter, tossed from balconies, dropped on the streets,
crushed underfoot, swimming in Hurricane vomit, we await your distorted
reflection. Music, tawdry obvious music. The good thing is live music on
every street corner, the bad thing is music I have already heard, having
nothing to do with New Orleans.
"I will not exchange money."
Strange hotel, your keycards fail frequently, your coffee pots are glued
to the hot plate, your swimming pool is merely a jacuzzi, and you reside
near a church that has something akin to "virgin labia" (in
Latin) carved in stone above the doorway (as if). Bourbon Street, by now
you know that we will never show you our tits. And enigma, who sits
every day on Canal Street with two chessboards and a tip bucket.
Whatever you're doing, I have the utmost admiration for it.