I miss

Feb. 13th, 2007 06:16 pm
missrenie: (Tree of Knowledge)

I miss
so bad
that I can taste it
if I bite my tongue
hard enough
I can taste it in my blood
it flows like music
up into me
and through me




I miss
Crescent Bends
the way the sounds of the street
with horse shoe cadence
the smell of these friends
coffee fresh and chicory kissed
flour fried into a pillow
delicate snow sugar misted
 I miss
Rain singin', slipin', spillin' on cobblestones
melted brown sugar, molasseses and pecans
I miss
broiled crawfish, crab, shrimp
and the songs
that get between your knees
and then crash into your feet

I miss
and green
the way the street lights danced off of a trombone
a bright golden sheen
I miss
I miss
New Orleans

missrenie: (Tree of Knowledge)



this one I wrote about home
about NewOrleans

A letter to a lover lost

I hated you.
Because you would never let me go.
I tried to wash you off... forget you
I changed my walk... I changed my talk... I almost changed my name
But some distant smell would wash over me... even here on the Pacific it would reach me
and reach into me and invade me.
Oregano, thyme, parsley, paprika tossed together on someones tilapia... all it was missing was the cayenne
and then all I was missing was you
City of Sin
City of Redemption
City of Joy
City of Sex
City of Art and Love and Magnolias
of the Dead
and I am stranded, robbed of my tomb. I always knew I would return to you... even if it was in a pine wood box. But not for one moment, one second, one breath did I think that you would leave me first.
There are no alabaster stones for my bones.

But the tings you did to me. Oh dear god the things you did and who you were... a violently poetic abusive lover. I would swear you off and youd get me drunk and Id come back again and again. A whore with a hurricane in her veins needing a fix from you.

You strangled me when you made love to me, And made me feel like there was no one else. A talent of yours... makin the world disappear.

And here I am in a place with these ugly and inadequate palm trees, with massive god aged redwoods , with soft brown sands and dark green and blue surf that seems like an eternity sweeping before me...
and all I want to do is to curl up inside that little bowl by the river bend. Sit beneath an old oak with a beard of Spanish moss, skin as brown as mine, curvy as the women who walked beneath them while a mosquito silently violates my leg.
The sea to me looks the same but your mystery was contast change

I want you
I want you bad
I want you to give it to me hard and rough with oil and fire, crawfish and jazz, crumbled hot brick buildings, black bodies dancing to the drummers beat, old folk business,
and second line.
And I want you to forgive me
because no matter how much of a bitch you were. You were family and blood and water and flesh and bone and heart and me. And I thought I was better than you. So much better than you
But I was wrong
we are the same
were the same

Can you hear me?
Can you still hear me?
I want you to open the door.
Im knocking on the door.
I want to come home.


Jun. 2nd, 2006 10:54 pm
missrenie: (Default)


I grew up in a place with no hills
So when I moved to Colorado I was impressed.

To me the rises and drops in elevation in the suburban neighborhood I lived in were hills. The actual hills were mountains and the mountains were this monstrous thing looming in the distance like some perfectly color adjusted windows 98 wallpaper. I eventually got used to them... hills I mean.... could never quite wrap my mind around the mountain.
But the more I thought about it I recalled that we had two hills in New Orleans. Monkey Hill in the Zoo and a smaller on in the park. Both were more mounds than hill. I only know that now. Any other hill was a functional hill. Like the levees. One sloped side pushing against the Mississippi or the Lake the other side drowning in it.

My brother and I loved Monkey Hill... mostly from a far. Mother rarely permitted us to climb it for 2 reasons. First she was always fearful that we would snap a bone or hurt ourselves in a way that was beyond her repair. We lacked the little plastic white cards other mothers carried around in their purses with their children's names marked on them in 12 inch Arial font. Insurance... again something I never understand until recently. The second reason was rooted in past and personal pride. My mother grew up in the dying yet still effective arms of Jim Crow. She found it an undignified abasement to allow her children to frolic, roll, climb, jump or even step on anything named "Monkey" Hill. To her they might as well had called it "Nigger Hill"

Once or twice I went to the Zoo with my school but being a Roman Catholic southern institution girls were not allowed to wear pants at least not before I hit sixth grade. And my mother in a determine attempt to make a lady out of me did not allow me to wear biker shorts under my pleated checkered heavily starched skirt. Only white, nude or black slips with a half inch of trim. So rolling down the hill with my classmates was out of the question... not that I liked them anyway.

The only other "hill" was in City Park. The memories of it are very very fond. One day during my senior year after school when I did not have to go to the college campus for classes and was feeling appropriately defiant enough to disregard my band teacher's comical threats of what would happen if I missed another after school session, we piled into one of my friend's white 96 Toyota Corolla station wagon and headed to City Park. We stopped at a little delicious Chinese place for crab ragoon before offering our devoted patronage to the drive through Daquiri shop. Once we were fed and slightly tweaked we cranked up the music and finished our journey to the park. I always loved City Park. The beautiful magnolia trees lined the entrance like a majestic court and the crickets competed with the local chorus of green breasted mallards on the lake...and on and on and on.

We drove three- fourths of a mile into the park, around the museum and headed out. I was disappointed that we were leaving so soon and a bit confused. The driver of the car stopped dead center of the road. "Alright yall know the drill". I got knocked in the head by the saddle oxford covered foot of the girl who sat in the middle as she climbed into the back of the station wagon.
"What the hell" I whispered a bit embarrassed to ask the four other people in the car what was going on. I was ignored.
"You gonna have to pull further back to get enough speed," The other girl in the front seat suggested
"No I don't"
"Yes you do"
"Get more speed?"
"No I don't"
"Yes you do"

At that point the girl in the trunk put her face next to mine and said
"You might wanna buckle up I-re-nay but its more fun if you don't... here hold my drink" The girl I shared the seat with had just planted her feet firmly down and wrapped her hands around the metal part of the driver's headrest and locked her arms.

"Buckle up?" I asked as I took the cup from the girl in back.
She didn't get a chance to explain before the driver pressed down on the ignition so fast that the wheels squeaked and rubber burned. She was thrown back against the window like a rag doll all the while screaming "Hellz yeah... bring it on!!!!" I turned my attention to the front window of the car to see just what the hell was going on.

"Blessed Virgin at the cross!!!!!!!!" I screamed when I saw that we were speeding towards the one hill in City Park. I tried to get on my seat belt but it was hard to do with my hands full. For a brief second I thought about opening the door with my elbow and tucking and rolling. But I wasn't sure if that would hurt more. The only other thing going through my mind was how my mother was going to beat my ass down after I got outta the hospital because of the enormous bill she was going to have to pay on account of me not having any health insurance.

Now although no self respecting southern person of color would dare to watch Dukes of Hazard I had myself witnessed the opening credits of the hooting and hollering good ole boy show and by that small snippet I can say with greatest confidence that the "General Lee" had nothing on that four door family class vehicle. When we crested that rounded breast of earth and concrete we left the ground and hit the heavens. I was weightless rising in my seat until my head came in contact with the roof of the car. And for a brief eternity time squeezed breath out of her lungs slowly just for us.

That car landed and skidded to a halt shaken, stirred and filled with five girls each with sore heads, bruised shins, rapidly racing hearts and sides sore from laughter. The next time I got to sit in back.

So when I moved to Colorado and saw hills for the first time I was indeed impressed but I always thought mine was better.


May. 12th, 2006 03:32 pm
missrenie: (Tree of Knowledge)

.. think I may do this at an open mic night


My home was...

my home is as jazz
sweet seducing jazz
rays of light piercing from core
like a bird taking flight beginning to soar
A city built like a legends kingdom
forged in ancient voodoo wisdom
One ticket to moral escape and artistic freedom
Ash Wednesday worship after Fat Tuesday redeems them
Standin on the corner
makin groceries at Schewgmann
Say Hey to yo cousin
and save those dishes for brotha man
A magic I can only dream to understand
some science not yet known to man
Have you ever, ever been touched by the taste that hands heavy in my mouth?
The stripping twang and tang of the sultry soul
it leaves one thirsty under wantons cover
passionate and as hard as a new-lost virgin doe her lover
Have you ever been touched so deeply hat you could scream and cry?
But no sound pierces your lips
it builds in a silent speed
twisting turningtrying to fly
then-suddenly it comes.
Penetrating from the depths of your soul
form the marrow of your bone
the sound of an old man in Jackson Square seducing you with his saxophone.
Your heart beat matches the rhythm of street children as they taps down the streetthe clang of coke bottle caps under the ten year olds feet
Take of its wetness bathe in its sweetness
sleep in its divinity and divine in its serenity
A city borne on godless wings
A city where the angel sings
Saying my novena to Saint Jude for all to be well
the man on the street corner shouting We all going to hell!
Standing watching the sunset from iron worked balconies
Waiting for some Romeo to rise from the magnolias and marry me
Sleepless nights on Rue Bourbon with the heat a second skin
The cooling taste of a Monsoon as its juice drips down my chin
The sounds of the streets tempting me
bringing me to my rest
the gas lit lamps casting shadows at my feet
the warmth within my breast
A golden coin tossed up shining in the sun
inseparable from head to toe this city and I are one

missrenie: (Default)
Dennis and I pressed our noses against shatter proof glass in the copy room trying to figure out if it was raining or hailing outside... after about two minutes we agreed that it was hail and after about five minutes of laughing from watching the passerbys below us run, dart and freak out about it we decided it was a good thing.

But as I stood there pointing out the poor soul in shorts and sandals wobbling awkwardly as if the tiny drops of ice were huge marbles I remembered my own first experience with hail.

I was 15 years old... petting my kitten Phantom on the front porch. The sky was bright blue with a few puffy clouds and the heat was blaring and intense. A normal New Orleans day. The cloud must have approached from behind because I never saw the sky darken but this was also normal.
Phantom gave me a lick and slinked off of my lap and closer towards to front door and curled up.. I thought to take a nap. And thats when it happened... rain at first until it changed and instead of hitting the side walk and turning it dark grey it bounced, and bounced and hit me. And I freaked out
but but here are my reasons why
1- never seen hail
2- raised Roman Catholic
3- just saw The 10 commandments with Charleston Heston
4- has a mother who was known to mumble “we are living in our last days” , “the world is coming to an end” “the day of judgment we know neither the day or the hour” at least twice a day
(I would be surprised to wake up every morning to find that it had not happened and horrified that today would be the day, and worried that the rapture would happen: while I was on the toilet, or still a virgin, or during sex, or in an elevator or a combination of the above)

I was however still a virgin so this was a bad thing.
It began to come down harder and harder... in bigger and bigger pieces... and I knew from the 10 commandments that it would start to catch fire soon so I had to get inside
I was frantic
I flew off the porch
got my leg stuck in the hedge
After wrenching myself free I dashed and I mean dashed up the ramp to the side door
cursing at myself for losing time in the hedges
the door was locked
I ran around to the back of the house and began banging like a wild woman
My mother let me in
I slammed the door and pressed against keeping the forces of hell or vengeance of whatever at bay.

“What the hell is your problem?”
“Ice mama ice from the sky.. There is ice coming out of the sky... its raining ice” which was hard to say as breathless as I was
My mother I thought was amazingly calm and said “You mean hail”
“Yes you dingy hail”
silence during which I remembered my lessons in science class about weather and cold air and hot air and blah blah blah.

“So the worlds not coming to an end”
long silence (im sure she was weighing the pros and cons of messing with my head )
“No Irene”

With my heart racing I slumped to the floor, my glasses fogging up, beads of sweat dripping from my temples, relived... that I had not died a virgin.


Sep. 2nd, 2005 09:27 pm
missrenie: (Default)

My city is drowning

I turn on the tv. I want to know what is happening. I don't know how to feel . . . what to feel. I see. My city drowning. I see my people black and bruised and begging and screaming and dying. The faces are all familiar. Voices all heard before. There is violence and desperation.
"I hear they are looting for food, and water and passing it out to other people" someone says.
The pretty blonde news anchor scoffs at the remark "Makes them sound like modern day Robin hoods . . . right."
A tiny laugh.
She shakes her head, her stomach full, her clothes clean, her environment air-conditioned, her bathroom works.
News continues. Looters. Anarchy. My people are shown plastered against the screen. Violence shooting black bodies baked by the sun. The camera zooms in the sound cuts out, like some damned discovery channel special. But we are people, humans we are beings. I can see them cry. My youngest sister is trapped in the once proud convention center. People are dying all around her. A mother gives birth. A three month old is starving. The mother mal nourished and sick cannot produce the mil to feed her child A diabetic goes into shock an old woman faints the smell of shit and rot stifles the hot humid air. A woman sits besides the body of her dead lover wrapped in a white sheet. Still, clinging to the past despite the one-hundred and five degree heat.
And she cries
-and i cry
And she screams
-and i scream
Help us!
-i am helpless

I call. Circuits are down, signal busy. I cannot get through
so I wait
for the phone to ring
endless hours
tick tock
loudly by
And finally Mother calls from Baton Rouge. She is safe and with family. Everything lost. Everything is gone. This woman who raised my brother and me on her own, this woman who shed tears of blood and sweet to own her own piece of land to make a life, a better world for her children, my hero, my Saint, lost everything. She doesn't cry. No tears are left
So I cry instead.
She tells me of a woman whom I've known since birth. "She was screaming because the glass was breaking all around her. I told her to get into the bathroom. She was screaming just screaming.
She tells me of the man who called her early in the morning to tell her to get out. He didn't leave himself.
"The water is rising in the house," he says his island accent strong
"Get out," she cries
"The water is rising in the house"
"Get out. Get to the roof. Get out"
"It's to late for me to leave the water rises."
That is the last she has heard.

She is 56 she has to begin again
Everything is lost
but she is lucky
she is blessed
she is alive

Finally Brother calls. A friend made it out but his grand mother stays behind.

I see the view from above. I know the street. I've walked it. I know how the streets run with water in the gentle rains and how it flows like a river in the heavy storms. I know the roofs of the houses barely visible swallowed by water.

Big Sister calls. The man whom we share as a father made it . . . he had to be dragged away from his business. It was the world to him. It was his life. I wonder if he will recover.

PaRaine calls. "I don't know where my daughter is, her husband the grandchildren?"
"Did they stay behind?" I ask in tears.
The answer is simple
"I've heard nothing"

I make a list that grows longer and l o n g e r.

Where are they? Did they make it?
On the news I watch them spray painting Ds and Xs over housed. The dead are here - do not enter.
But are they alive? Did they make it?
Dead bloated bodies tied to stop signs. People walk past trying not to see, trying not to stop.

A best friend calls. Her mother. My second mother makes it out of the hospital after walking through raw sewage and shit and rot through a river of death and decay she makes it out

The phone stops ringing.
Night falls
another day begins
I watch.
The president denies the aid of other countries
I seethe, I cry, I scream
I watch
rape and death and birth

"Where are you?" they cry to God and Country "Help us! Help us!"
Goddess, God, Lord and Lady help them I cry help them!
Where is their Home Security now?! Are they left to die because they are poor and black . . . like me? Are they to be washed away and forgotten? The rich sit on leather couches watching HD tv screens, shaking their head, sipping their cocktails. "What a shame. " Remember you once came to play in my city you walked my streets of magick and mystery and now it drowns and where are you
Where am I?
Curled inside a bottle trying to forget trying to hide trying to run.
At least for a little while.

I turn off the television
I go to get a drink of water to clear my head but as soon as it touches my lips I am full of guilt for those who have not this luxury.
I can't sleep in my bed because there are those that have not this luxury
I turn out the light

They scream
I scream

"Where are you my Country," They scream
Where are you Aunt Grace, Uncle Robert, Troy, Ms Miles, Ms Oubre, Aunt Diane, Alethea, Susie, Mrs. Guevara, Sondra, Angela, Dawn, Katie, McClain, Cathy, Mike, Ashley? The list goes on and on, rolling out adding more and more
Help Us
Help Us
Help US
Help them!
My city drowns
My people die
Some say we can never go back
But I will
I will stand on the ashes.
I will touch the wreckage of what was once my home.
I will make my peace
and honor the dead
My city will live in me


missrenie: (Default)

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