new orleans was something else

here’s the first of a poem in i don’t know how many parts yet.

1. What the Devil Saw

He walked past watermarked cottages

and the public school where textbooks

rotted, mossed, returned to wild;

shuttered restaurants that peeled pastels

like dry skin. The convenience store

hung with a sign, “Drive-through only

after dark.” And it was nearly always dark.

Inside the bar, men in worn fedoras

honked and wailed to no one: second-tier.

He jingled ice in his quiet glass.

He kept time, counting the dead. 

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2 responses to “new orleans was something else

  1. I like the poem and look forward to more in the series. Briefly: Interesting that you disambiguate “Drive-through only after dark,” as I assume the sign read. By line-breaking where you do, you clarify that you can only go through the drive-through and not through the store itself after dark. From just the sign, you can interpret it as the only time you can drive-through is after dark. Not that it matters much, but it’s also interesting given Dave’s post a few days back about the absurdity of some commonplace signs — something that’s a focus in David Foster Wallace’s essay “Authority and American Usage” in his recent collection Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays.

  2. Pingback: new orleans was something else, part 2 « No Record Press

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