Unpublished Poem #10: “I Know”

I wrote this poem back in 2006, less than a year after Hurricane Katrina ripped into New Orleans. By the time I was writing this, it had become clear what the storm had done to one of my favorite cities. New Orleans is only about five hours from Montgomery, so jumping in the car and heading down there wasn’t a big deal. Though I’ve never lived in the Big Easy; I have fond memories of the time I’ve spent there. I’m also a Louis Armstrong fan, and this poem riffs on his “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”

I Know

I stood
on a corner—
here came
the procession:
white shirts
and wild trumpets
and the
golden trombones
leading
a bride and groom
in their
horse-drawn carriage
and some
old black dude jumped
out and
joined the parade
swaying
with that band all
the way
down Royal Street.

I’m up
right now for some
old school
dixieland jazz
quintet
in the Quarter,
at the
Preservation Hall,
or for
the newer stuff,
smoother
like martinis,
maybe
to the Red Room
on stilts
over by St. Charles . . .

I know
what it means
to miss
New Orleans.

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