kreisberg, you’re doing it wrong

some dude with a german name
loved new york in november so much
he composed a song about it. i say,
pshaw, cat, you have never slept
on the windowsill of warm louisiana
in his matted fur coat eaten through with holes,
singed at the bottom from rich cigars in the eighteen hundreds.

you have not taken tea with grand louis
in his mantle of mudbrowns and slick acid green,
all that indistinguishable scarlet and mottled yellow
leaking through leaves
scaring off the caterpillars and the cicadas
(no more music for a while, the earth sleeps)
you don’t know the ceaseless teetering
the rush of holding your breath between one dusk
and the next dawn, waiting to see if old louis
will grant brisk breezes or bestow balmy blustering
afternoon this time,
or the flush of his teasing as he hints of snow,
never fulfilling all his promises promises promises

hum your northern tune as you like;
i turn my face to the gray sky
and sing louisiana black-limbed night
broad-armed days of bitter cold and steamy breath
and that smell you can’t forget,
seeping into my southern bones.


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