Three hundred miles north
of the Big Easy
counter-clockwise rain swirls
hurled over all those
Gulf Coast miles.

Backyard spotlights catch
these dervishes and there is
a savage beauty in them.

Individual drops compressed
into slamming wrecking balls
driven by banshee winds
sucked the last exhalations
from men, women, children, babies
dogs, cats, birds,–anything that
fell in Katrina’s path.

My mind huddles and retreats
eyes closed to brutality
in a dark hellish dome—
ears pretending not to hear
howls of dogs still roped
to ruined porches.

I flee from the Paris
of the South destroyed
like a pack rat filching
wraiths and ghosts or memories,
which being incorporeal, fetch up
unharmed anyway.

Who but me remembers Dewayne dapper
in his sportin’clothes
countin’ off the criminal exploits
of Stagga Lee with undisguised glee?

Who remembers the Mad Ox immaculate
in a wrinkled seersucker suit
inro’ing hapless pilgrims
from the North?

Who remembers poets
like courtly bums
kneeling like Al Jolsens
and begging for loot
from floats pregnant
with beads?

Immortal memory survives
like steam rising
from a chicory cup
like a beautiful stranger
to love from afar
impervious to weather
waiting for
The Streetcar
Of All Desires.