Voo Doo Princess



So this weekend was my first weekend get-away with Madeline. We went to New Orleans stayed at a hotel in the French quarter and did all the things tourists do in the Big Easy (which incidentally is named for two things. The overall easy going nature of life in New Orleans and the big, easy swerve of the Mississippi river which I tried to run along (a note to runners: There is no easy going running path along the Mississippi in New Orleans. The only one I found abutted a chained link fence on one side and a musical steamship playing Christmas carols on the other. Hearing Christmas carols in November is jarring enough. Hearing them coming out of steamship while you’re on a run in a tank top and gym shorts is postively surreal for a Midwestern boy like myself.) But I did manage to, with the help of the Map My Run app on my phone, run a little over three miles through the French Quarter with a jaunt along Bourbon Street, which I believe may have been the first time that the concepts of physical exercise and Bourbon Street were in the same sentence or reality in recorded history. We only had 2 ½ days to play with and were operating on a limited budget, which was fine because this was as much a mini-vacation as much as it our first trial of how we coexisted. I am happy to report that we thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend and only tango-ed on each others nerves a couple times, and each of those times, Madeline deftly decided we should part company for a few hours (to her credit, one of those times were when we were at the World War II museum and, God bless her, she could see I had no intention of cutting my tour short so, at 3 hours in, she bailed.) We united anew later that day and merrily finished out the weekend.

A couple weeks ago, she mentioned to me that she is assuredly not tallying the amount of money she or I spends on each other. She knows that I am just recently gaining some financial footing in my life and told me that, more than a gift bought in a store or even tickets to this or that concert, she wanted a poem. She has spent some time perusing this blog and apparently thinks I’m a talented writer and, as my luck would have it, a decent poet. So, to thank her for the weekend, I started writing a poem on our first full day in NOLA (that’s New Orleans, LA to outsiders and, more specifically, Madeline herself. She didn’t make the connection until our third day there and I realized once again that me and my friends’ tendency to rib each other almost to the point of rage and/or tears is assuredly not how a man conducts himself in a relationship with a woman (I was reminded of an instance long ago when my sister-in-law was 8 months pregnant with my nephew and my friend Tim told my brother to, at all costs, avoid the urge to tell her to suck it up already.)

So, I started writing a poem that can best be described as a sad, sorry, pitiful and, perhaps worst of all, predictable attempt at capturing our time in New Orleans. Here it is:


Mojo and juju and voodoo and you

Katrine the hurricane in this Thanksgiving stew

Gumbo and catfish and andouille and grits

Zydeco dancing and St. Louis glitz

Po’boy pleasures and alligator stew

You’re as sweet as praline, my French Quarter lolly

My Mardis Gras balcony –


That’s where I stopped and thank God for that. I mean seriously, that one is straight out of Smooch! The Beginner’s Guide to Romance Poetry! I wasn’t doing what I do when I write poetry, what I think I always try to do when I write poetry which is write from the gut, write what you feel and who cares if it makes sense. So, Madeline, try this one. I think you’ll like it:


Voo Doo Princess


The alligator becomes you

Violins so sweet with back-pack babies

The drum kit buckets and pink float magistrates

Flow down this street with marching band cascades

As school girls dance on these haunted sling blade nights

Hot sauce waterfalls and lollypop slumber

Remoulade balconies for a kiss, and another

Blues club two-step soda pop nightcaps

The stoned grotto lion nods his approval

Of the weeping willows and gentle ponds

And the lonely, broken sidewalk harmonies




Thank you for a wonderful, wonderful weekend Madeline. Or should I say yeah, you right.



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