The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Lorie Greenspan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
there went my visions . . .
when i was eleven
my father asked
what i wanted
and i said a
telescope and he
bought me one
but i couldn’t
really see any
planets with it,
just a moon that
was too large
and there went my
visions of becoming
an astronomer – i read
bradbury and asimov instead . . .
when i was thirteen
my father asked
what color i wanted
my room painted
and i said orange
and so he gave me
orange, all warmth
and autumn and i
dwelled there. i became
a writer in that orange.
and then there were
the birthdays when
my father told me
to make a wish
and i wished for
my mother to return,
nearly every year
until he was remarried . . .
some things my
father asked me
to wish for never
but that was ok.
i had orange.
Diane Elayne Dees
Diane Elayne Dees is the author of the chapbooks, Coronary Truth (Kelsay Books), The Last Time I Saw You (Finishing Line Press) and The Wild Parrots of Marigny (Querencia Press). She is also the author of three Origami Poems Project microchaps, and her poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction have been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana—just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans—also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world. Her author blog is Diane Elayne Dees: Poet and Writer-at-Large.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Diane Elayne Dees and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
That Care Forgot
In the seventies, when we all grew
jade plants and wore Gap t-shirts,
when we took our Sunday morning coffee
with a box of McKenzie’s glazed,
and the women in the Quarter
smoked clove cigarettes—it cost
four dollars to see James Booker
and Professor Longhair on the same night.
That was before we installed burglar bars
on all of our windows, before we were afraid
to park more than a block away
from the club or the party.
We overlooked widespread corruption,
the Carnival-inspired caste system,
the eternal parade of Old Boys who froze
the best women into living month to month,
and hundreds of potholes that wrecked
our cars. We overlooked them because
of jazz and po-boys and funk and poetry
and Mardi Gras street art and Ninth Ward
dialect and pink and purple houses
and banana trees and sno-ball stands
and Irma Thomas and the Saturn Bar
and the plaster feet in the St. Roch Chapel
and second lines and Dr. John
and sitting on the levees
that would eventually render the city
a giant trash heap filled with pain and loss.
A magazine called my neighborhood
The Hippest Neighborhood in America,
and it was—until the good times rolled
into the murky depths of the Mississippi.
Tired of viewing the city through iron bars,
I crossed Lake Pontchartrain thirty years ago,
and never went back. But memories
of that golden age inhabit my cells,
and drift through my consciousness
like the pelicans that glide gracefully
past cars on the Causeway. I embrace
the pine trees and the blue-green river,
and am soothed by the symphony
of night songs from frogs and crickets.
But sometimes, when I least expect it,
I still hear the Pfister Sisters’ voices
wafting out of a second story Marigny cafe
like an anointed choir of hipster angels,
still smell the apricot perfume of sweet olive,
still leisurely stroll the Street of Dreams.