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Showing posts from July, 2017

First Touch (Revised!)

Two pounds, 10.1 ounces, angry dark red skin, my fourteen weeks premature girl lay on her back, arms and legs open at her sides-no muscle tone to hold them close, no fat legs or chubby cheeks. She was only hours old, and the nurse in charge of me had done her best to dissuade me from seeing her yet. ‘Get some sleep first,’ she tried, looking to my Mom for support. My mother looked at me, and recognized and understood my resolve. ‘You can put her in bed, but I can tell you she’ll only get up as soon as you leave to find her daughter.’So, here I was, scrubbed from fingernail to elbow, iv tubes beneath my white robe, all my nerves exposed, and needing to see my first child. She was still in the very first room, where I learned later babies go to make sure they will make it to the first of the most intensive care rooms. I stood in the doorway, white walls, white table. My eyes locked on the tiny creature upon the warming table. My heart felt the wariness of the staff. They feared my reactio…
Chaotic Beauty Naghi’s (Corner of St. Ann and Royal Street) Monday 7/10/17 10:15AM
Crystal chandeliers sparkle, drawing first my eyes and then my feet into Naghi’s boutique. “Do you mind,” I ask the man, “if we come and write here awhile?” Without hesitation he waves us in. “Come, come. Enjoy!”
The center of the room is a kaleidoscope of fountains, the largest in the middle and moving out in a five foot radius, a hodgepodge of cultures and water spouting magic.
‘Purple Rain’ is painted in vivid variations of eggplant, lavender, and indigo acrylics. It boldly takes up the entire wall above the brick fireplace, filling the corner as brashly as Prince himself might have done when he was alive.
Behaving as if they belong there, frightening African masks scowl, laugh and silently scream at me from their positions on the walls. Mixed intermittently among them is a shining white marble statue of three Greek gods, frozen forever in wrestling battle, naked, and tortured for all eternity.
I am surpr…

THE FIRST TOUCH

*This one is for my amazing, powerful, beautiful baby girl, Kathryn Elizabeth.

Tuesday morning we were given a writing prompt, 'The first time'. Many things went through my mind, but this is what settled, and I'm so glad it did. I shared this Wednesday evening during our NOWM Gallier House cocktail/share around. A friend took video, but my phone acted up and only got the first 40 seconds. I made it through to the last two lines before the tears made it all the way out and I had to pause to get my voice out.

I am so glad I shared.



THE FIRST TOUCH

The first time I saw my daughter, there was fear and shock on the three nurses' faces. Two pounds, 10.1 ounces, angry dark tomato red skin, my fourteen weeks premature girl lay on her back, arms and legs open at her sides-no muscle tone to hold them in, no fat legs or chubby cheeks.

She was only hours old, and the nurse in charge of me had done her best to dissuade me from seeing her yet; but here I was, scrubbed and needing to…

Because of...

*I visited St. Ursuline's Convent on Tuesday, July 11th. It is a beautiful, old place created for a sect of nuns and focused much attention on Henriette Delille (pronounced on-ree). Henriette was a Creole (mixed blood), freeborn because her slave mother worked to buy freedom. After many difficult events, Henriette devoted her life to God and the Church. Photographs show her true image, yet drawings portray her as clearly dark-skinned. Henriette Delille was secretly trained and quietly took her vows before two prominent male church officials. She was not allowed to wear a veil, habit, and crucifix because she was not white. Henriette died in 1862 of tuberculosis and is shown in all the statues at St. Ursuline's in 'garb of the day'. Ten years after her death, in 1872, Creole nuns were finally allowed to wear the habit they'd earned through sacrifice and schooling.

This writing came from my reactions to this powerful visit. (Pics added when wifi is better)


BECAUSE OF…

Anti-Yoke

Hand shaved cypress shingles
white scalloped beauty
enclose Antioch -Anti-Yoke- Baptist Church
on Whitney Plantation.

Inside, an escape from beating sun, burning heat
Three small black slave children
sit upon the back bench.
Their eyes are empty, and
My breath comes short.

Formed from copper,
A dozen plus more line the aisle,
adorn the pulpit.

Peter, the slave whose name hangs
from the lanyard 'round my neck
sits cross-legged in the front
an innocent eight year old
trapped in our shameful past.

A chill runs over my skin
imagining his Mistress
teaching him to write
before selling him off.
Valued at $900
half-Confederate
half-Union.

Here, their stories are shared,
preserved, important.
They were babies, I think
Valued less than family pets.

Their whispers fill me
as I leave the coolness of Antioch Church.
I have heard your stories, Children,
and they cannot be
unheard.

JUDE OF THE GREY LINE

Black leather cap
Crisp white shirt
Black socks, white polka dots
bright against the background.

The driver counts tickets
Two stacks
Passes out stickers
"Don't leave him!" he laughs when a mother
states her 4 year old
wasn't given a ticket.

A career of field trips, I think
watching as he recounts
wondering how often a guest is left behind
Laughing as one and another guest leaves
for trash dumping or bathroom use.

Recalling classroom trips
Managing 200+ teens
Counting and Recounting
All accounted for...fingers crossed.

Polka dot socks closes the door
And away we go!

ICE COLD WATER MAN

One Dollar, One Dollar!
The coldest water in the city...DOCUMENTED!

The red, white and blue clad vendor
hollers his cadence.

8 bottles a day
keeps the doctor away!

One bottle of MY water and you can run 10 more! he yells as a trio of joggers pass.

"U.S. Vet, Please Help"
states the faded marker cardboard sign
Silent, he sits on an overturned white bucket
head down.

Water Guy strolls over
Talks gently for a bit
Shakes the Vet's hand
and passes him a folded wad of bills
Before quietly walking back
to his ice cold cooler
and beginning his litany again.

My pen takes it all in.

ONE LINERS FROM NOWM 2017...to be continued throughout!

Monday, July 10th

      Walking past the carriage for rent area near Jackson Square, three older men were sitting and solving the world's problems when I heard: "Yeah, she said for $20 you can relive your 1st sexual experience!"  He caught my eye, kind of embarrassed as I passed so I added, "Seems like it would be worth it!"

Tuesday, July 11th

Leaving Envie Cafe after breakfast, the 'Ramone T-shirt guy' approached the woman at an outdoor table with two glasses of water: "Big or small...What's your pleasure?" I laughed to Janice. "I've always said, 'Go big or go home!'

     Rodrigue Studio: "My favorite painting is the one I'm working on right now." G. Rodrigue

     At St. Ursuline's Convent: "Today, the sisters hold up the past while reaching for the future."

     At Harry's Corner: (These are ALL from the amazing bartender, whose voice reminded me so much of the big, nerdy geologist from The…

AND SO IT BEGINS...DAY ONE 2017 NOWM

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Once again, New Orleans has left me breathless, filled beyond words, and aching for more. While I'm here this week for my 3rd writing marathon experience, I feel the need to share brief snippets of what is coming through my pen to paper.

Breakfast at Croissant D'Or, early Monday morning brought this (disclaimer: these are all very rough free write drafts...no revision has yet occurred and possibly might never occur)

     And so it begins, I thought. Yet, it is not the beginning, but rather a continuation of the awakening the French Quarter opened in me three years ago.
     It is coming home to an old friend.
     Pushing open the front door of LeRichelieu this morning, stepping onto the porch, my breathing steadied. My smile is softer, eager; my steps are bolder, sure of where I head...Croissant D'Or for breakfast and writing. Gallier House awaiting just around the block.
     Writing seems natural here and I wonder, are there other 'Marathoners' here now? Perhaps f…