Tuesday, September 06, 2005

19. Artiste - New Orleans Woman

by cynthmala

cashmere swirls over worn faille
and madras and taffeta float
chests spill over with second-hand satin
and hats top the bedposts
all this - her raiment for a life
she isn't living - finery
for places she doesn't visit
all of it - draping a room
she didn't plan to inhabit

saturdays, near sundown
the Quarter ignites, and the bars
smoulder on Bourbon...
Artiste works in what she sleeps -
a sheet, with a bit more
to make it seem less -
but on early Sunday morning
on spring and sunny mornings
she wears a heavy green robe
and pulls the sash tightly
- a massive knot on this day of rest

hostage of habit
she wears it all day
sips cafe au lait
until her tongue is chicory dark
and can't taste anymore
she leans on the broad frame
of a hole - two centuries now a window -
she rests, folds arms...
lazy ears receive
the prayers and murmurs of Mammas
wafting in with the heat

she sees her Drunk
walking up-street against the masses
whom she throws a daily five to
then, she draws back elbows and eyes
Artiste covers closely
her full breast with green
and under the white-hot sky
in a pillow of humid curls
she dozes
in a future that's easy

(hope the hole - two centuries now a window - is still there)


meaka said...
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shakti said...


cathmala said...

I do not know if this will come through..........

I am Cynthia's mother and just found this as I was trying to print some of her poems. Cynthia died on April 27, 2006 of peritoneal mesothelioma , shortly after her 38th birthday. She had a terrible disease to fight and has just re-started her chemo.

Cynthia loved New Orleans and we had tucked in a visit there in the spring of 2005. I have lots of memorabilia and photos.

Thank you so much for printing her poem. I sit here now with happy tears .... and love the thought that she must have been so happy.