Gnats & Ladybugs

Hello New Orleans.
Good bye just the same.
Face like a remarkable movie in sepia.
The kind you only saw once, and bragged about forever,
Until the real thing aged into a beautiful powdered lie.
You were in many ways as troubling as you were charmed.
Alive with pleasing debauchery
The putrid vanity of Bourbon Street.
The world came to see your handiwork,
The French Quarters,
Your crowning achievement,
Your best heartache.
While they gazed,
You stole from them,
Their breaths,
Their composure,
Their manners.
The filthy rich rubbed elbows with the verminous poor.
The homeless scattered about your avenues like bad seeds.
Your cobbled streets, like veins, gurgled with raw sewage.
People spat at your feet in open admiration.
Pissed in street corners – but with high opinion.
The very smell of you, a dream died here.
You irritated but pleased.
Sweetened and embittered.
Your nightlife,
A remarkable carnival of colors and lights
In constant cyclic renditions.
Every face, once seen, once remembered.
Every sin, no worse than the next.
An overdose imminent,
A love story closing,
Death was constantly near,
And we opened bare chests then.
But you were only meant to be taken in whispers.
In your heart danced thieves and bankers,
Grad students and fools,
Priests and wiccans,
Artists and pranksters.
But after a while,
You turned a painful scene.
And like a nagging mute,
You amused and irked,
but mostly irked.
Big words only you can mine.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for showing your scars.
Thank you for secrets spilled.
See you, maybe, at another funeral;
When I am certain,
To find you even more filthy,
Loud, garish, enigmatic and obtuse.
I am convinced that these heavenly qualities
Are what makes you your most special.