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I'm So New Orleans


Some men come to New Orleans,
think they have
good intentions
when they flirt with,
"You seem like a smart girl.
So why do you choose to stay
in such a dirty wasteland?"

Because it taught me lessons
in how grit my teeth and push
hard as any woman positioned
on a mattress in order to give birth
to a new thriving self.

you talk down to my drunken
culture found on Mardi Gras,
but you've never stepped
farther than Bourbon Street
but think you have the culture
written, and I'm too busy catching
bubbles and costume watching
on Royal to care for strip clubs
and flashing my body.

you've never seen me twirl in
a pink dress before the Carnival
ball, wake up to the skeleton costumes
of Bone and Skull gang high on stilts
and drums to remind you to live
on Mardi Gras and days after,
never knew what the Big Chief
wants to drink as he calls to the sky.

the famous saying is, "If you make
it in New York, you can make it
anywhere," but try walking down
yet-to-be-gentrified street alone
after midnight, then call me back
if you make it home.

you don't know all the stories
I've been told, my father and mother's
American roots are buried
in above ground graves below
sea level, beginning before
they joined America, when they
explain how some bastard French words
still creep into their speech
when a cousin is feeling sassy,
the Creole my mother spoke
when she was angry, the French
curse words taught by my grandfather
and his brothers near the mound
of tradition growing shallots
and cabbages big as my head.

yeah, yeah, I'm well aware
there is better, but I'll never trust
politicians wherever I go, and no
matter how far we sink
and how many times they call it
a third world America, I call it
my third world home never for sale,
because you don't know how toc
sweep its porch as well I can.

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