New Orleans

New Orleans

by Kathy Bailey


Taste the bourbon. Listen to the clarinet.

Check your phone for a message that does not arrive.


Pretend that the homeless man, with his hand out, is not asking

For much. Watch the people who fall


All around you. Watch them spin in circles. Watch them from

Above, and feel nothing. Listen to the men who tell you


That you are sexy, and put their hands out for you to grab.

Grab hold of them, and believe them. Ignore the man to your side when you do.

Hold onto your hips while letting them sway uncontrollably. Think of


Your death. Think of it while you move and swing your hair.

Wonder about your Uncle who has passed. Stare at the shutters


Of 100 year old buildings, and ponder who built them.

Walk through a cemetery, and take pictures of plantations. Drink


Uncontrollably while you do. Take pictures of the cemetery plots,

And wear the face of a slave around your neck. See the trees


That fall into each other as if you have never seen a tree before. As if

It is the first tree you’ve ever seen. Watch the vines fall on to your forehead,


And sway like jelly fish in a deep ocean of air. Eat the pickles.

Hear the twang. Give the man a wrinkled dollar, and tell yourself you did good.


Always tell yourself you did good. Mean it.

Fucking, mean it.


Kathy Bailey holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona in poetry, and a B.A. in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, where she double minored in Communications and Women’s studies. She has worked as an English Professor and college Administrator for the last twelve years.  In the last few months, she has appeared in both The Sky Island Journal, and the Bangalore Review.  She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.

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