Prose Poem: Quarter Time

Quarter Time

A ghost-woman of Storyville calls my name in the Quarter. Creole beauty, she wraps a lilac scented shawl around bare shoulders, a feather in her hair. Louis plays piano. Pops knows his Rag. His syncopation, sublime. Fats and Jelly Roll got nothin’ on him. He is King of the Zulu’s. 

Algiers feels dangerous. The hush of Catholic streets bid me wander down. I duck into the Dry Dock. Eat a po’ boy. Listen to the cackle of women fighting over brown bottles of beer. The church bell rings. The bar maid says its time. I run to the ferry. Cross the Mississippi. Get off the Point. Back to gas street lamps. Cracked and cobbled walkways.

 .

At the end of Decatur, I cross Esplanade. The River Styx between the Quarter and the Marigny. The hulking Mint looms over the festivities. On Frenchman faces peep out of dark corners. Artists sell grotesque nudes in watercolor. Where is George Dureau tonight, I wonder? One drink minimum, no cover at the Spotted Cat. I go in. Drunken dancers surround the brass jazz band, youthful faces flush in the dim, smoky room.

.

I’m in love.

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10 Responses

  1. I like it.

    • Thanks Patrick. I wrote this piece in January, just after I got back from New Orleans. It’s been circulating, and rejected about a half dozen times by editors. Rather than continue to send it out, I just decided to post it here for everyone to enjoy.

      Really glad you liked it – that’s what counts to me!

  2. I like this a lot. It has really direct, right-branching sentences, but still manages to sound lyrical. Perhaps it’s in the verbs?

  3. This is one of my favourite pieces I have ever read by you! So vividly described. You should do more in this style!

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