new orleans was something else, part 2

(The first part of the poem is over here.)

2. How the Devil Seemed

He was an old man as we met him,
sipping Chardonnay at the Carousel Bar;
a silver statesman neatly combed
and tanned to liver and lung.
Cufflinks, brass. A suit brushed to starless night.
His reflection passing through paneled mirrors
as if looking for an exit.
He set his glass down, turned to us and laughed.
(His laugh like dust, a reversed relic of breath.)
The city, he told us, is never coming back.
To tell the truth we could hardly stand to look at him.

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One response to “new orleans was something else, part 2

  1. I like the poem, though I don’t think it’s as strong as the first as far as standalone poems go. This I can see more as part of the series that you are building. As far as it being a character-sketch poem, then there’s interesting things going on. What I like best in the poem are the sounds and texture of phrases. There’s this “sss” sound that keeps coming out, which makes me think of the Bible’s serpent: “sipping Chardonnay” … “Cufflinks, brass.” Even the consonance seen elsewhere gives a sinister quality somehow, which is pretty good, since consonance usually adds saccharine to my ear (didn’t mean to be too literal: “I have owed to them / In hours of weariness, sensations sweet”).

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