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last update: 13 Oct17

 

MARDI GRAS

First Night in New Orleans                      Drunken Woman on Bourbon Street

 

Sunday Morning                      Tarot

 

Mardi Gras
First Night in New Orleans

After honking traffic on Canal Street:
loud rap from the yellow Cadillac pulsing
like a bullfrog; walking through crowds
on Bourbon Street, catching blasts of music;
disco, jazz, blues from doorways of bars
and strip-joints; after Hurricanes
at O’Brien’s, Ferrari-Carano
at Oyster Bar, the evening lights up
in the glow of the restaurant’s golden
pumpkin lamps, the amber flame of cognac;
 
we find ourselves on Rue Royale
along with the wedding procession waving
white handkerchiefs in rhythm with the band;
entwined we slow-dance to the sound
of the jazz saxophone blowing in from the river –
 
then – gunfire, sirens, bells, blue lights flashing
and red tape fluttering across the sidewalk,
just two blocks from our hotel.
 

Marion Ashton

Sequence published in Dream Catcher, 31, 2017



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Mardi Gras
Drunken Woman on Bourbon Street

As if, hidden somewhere in the city,
someone nursing a festering grudge
just lifted a black-faced scarecrow doll
from its red silk, seven-inch box, tucked
a tuft of coarse dark hair under its straw cloth
armpit, stuck a silver pin in its neck,
then three more into the belly and the backs
of both knees, causing her to jerk
a stone-eyed face, clutch a cramping gut,
to gag, stagger and knock into groups
of grinning tourists, all reaching
skyward, trying to catch the flung
strings of carnival beads, falling gold-
purple-green from wrought-iron balconies.
 

Marion Ashton

Sequence published in Dream Catcher, 31, 2017



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Mardi Gras
Sunday Morning

Behind the padlocked gates
of Jackson Square Gardens,
slow-paced workers swab
Saturday night’s excesses
off the walkways,
hose down blowsy banks
of pink azaleas, open-throated
in the rising heat.
 
From Desire’s doorway,
a shock of lemon Lycra:
a teenage girl blinks
into the sun-slap glare, clatters
down Chartres as if
in someone else’s stilettos,
 
loose bra-strap slipping
off the shoulder: a surrender
of tired white lace across smooth, black flesh.
 

Marion Ashton

Sequence published in Dream Catcher, 31, 2017



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Mardi Gras
Tarot

He thinks it will be the same as all the other times:
he’ll take me to Muriel’s, we’ll sit at the best table
in the Gris Gris Room, there’ll be champagne
and orchids, chandelier lights glinting in his eyes.
He’ll smile and smile, explain those receipts,
the unexpected nights away. I’ll watch him slide
oysters along his tongue, bite into snapper flesh,
lick sauce from his lips. He’ll pick the moment
to push a small blue box across the table – diamond
bangle or a fat-stone ring. And his final flourish:
that slow deal of dollars from the thick casino wad.
 
He doesn’t know I’ve been to see the Tarot boy –
the gifted one – who looked me in the eye, smiled,
nodded before I even turned a card, knowing,
just like I knew, this time would be different.
 

Marion Ashton

Sequence published in Dream Catcher, 31, 2017



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