Good Friday Dawns in the French Quarter

Because the airport shuttle comes early,

and I don’t get ready fast, I hold

back my arm from Snooze this once

and drag myself from the covers at five

in this city that sleeps until noon.


Last night, as I kept company with friends,

the jazzmen played with soul for us,

the late-night Sazerac tasting

rightly bittersweet.


Time now too short for strolling

to Café du Monde, I brew

a cup from a packet of something

of something the hotel has

mislabeled coffee and sip it

with a saved beignet, cold, hardening,

its snowy garnish melted to sugary mud.


And I look first out the window

at the upper floors and palm tops on Canal,

glimpsing then, in the dresser mirror,

the other direction’s view, of the few dim l

lights persistently starring the night-cloaked

Quarter, in a landscape running toward

the River, but distantly and in reverse.


A bit later, in the soft-aired Southern dawn,

the bus loops through French names and wrought-iron

lace, picking up visitors reluctant to return

from exile to reality, and at the east end

of the Quarter, outside a bar shuttered

against this lonely hour, sits a cute gay boy,

dark-haired and fresh-faced, in a green

tee-shirt, faded jeans, and flip-flips,

still wiping sleep from dancing eyes

and talking on his phone with a slightly

goofy grin, the future in the present,

supported by the past, his times

way different but his hopes about

the same as those of the many like him

who’ve come to walk these streets,

killing one life off, seeing rebirth into another.


Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper


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