H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Big Easy Ride


One evening after the hurricane, I was the only

one on the Canal Street Bus that was driven

by a skeleton who steered past the waterlines

of fungal communities and past the broken doors

of Macy’s and hurricane adjusters and stopped

at the Zydeco Beer and Wine shop where more

skeletons, who were grieving lost parents and pets,

boarded with a swamp monster who'd survived

ten days on the Holiday Inn rooftop and

who vowed, “You gotta have Faith.”

Two construction workers sat down beside

me, said, “Mama, como está,” and fell asleep.

A skeleton across from me asked, “Weren’t you

at that shelter in Houston?” I shook my head

and wondered what ward I was in? By the House

of Voodoo, a big-haired waitress boarded with

a blue potion that she swore would fix them levees.

Just when I thought I’d perish, we stopped

in Pirates Alley for forty funny fellows with horns

and one burlesque professor yelling, “You can’t grieve

forever.” At the St. Louis cemeterie, the skull

of the bus driver yelled, “Last stop,” and we all

marched off in a jazz funeral procession, carrying

lit torches to the society tombs of musicians

and workers, and we sang for the Katrina victims

scattered under and across the land--for us all.

Before dawn broke, we built our own hurricane

tomb from broken bottles, stones and bones

in a deserted corner of the cemeterie, and laid down

our souls to rest under a crescent city morning rain.



[Originally published in NHS 2006, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs06/Demuth.htm.]