Monday, November 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crucifixion Road Home

Crucifixion Road Home

Written by New Orleans film maker Karl Demolay, director of the cult classic Zombi!~vs ~Mardi Gras

This is for the city that care forgot...
the city that forgot to care. This city, carelessly forgotten, our party time's behind us now, sensual drums in the dank and virile heat. City of culinary delights, musical giants, simple pleasures, squalid splendors. A city of dust, now shrouded in mold, forever succumbing to entropic bliss on pause. This city of history, a living archive of revelry and regret. The past and the future collide in slow motion. This is the city that must be remembered and rebuilt, this bastion of visceral pleasures and historic decadence. All to our collective delight and nagging melancholia.

This is for the ones that evacuated...
the people who left it all behind. The ones that lost almost everything, or maybe just the one thing they cared about most of all. The ones marooned on highways for far too long, no way home, even as the storm unleashed its initial fury. Those left deserted, no place to rest their heads, thoughts still heavy with guilt or fear or resignation. This is for the people that won't go back, can't go back, afraid of possibility and all of its attendant pitfalls. This is for those that have nothing to return to at all, not one single thing. This is for the ones that relocated, expatriates forced into strange lands with odd customs. This is for the terminally restless, the suddenly homeless, the penniless brave.

This is for the ones that stayed...
the insane, the stranded, the curious tribes, erstwhile survivors and civic warriors alike. Those souls who stayed calm and true despite the chaos, or lost their minds to apocalyptic fancy. Battened down and hunkered low, sipping bottled water with hushed first glances, suspicious demeanors and flashlights at the ready. Proud and defiant holders of the line, sometimes criminal in intent, quick movement on the perimeters, shoot to kill orders...
For all those who were trapped in makeshift shelters, replete with suicides, murders, and rapes: victimization rank and feral. For the bitter end of salvation, acrid tastes on parched tongues dry, even as bids for escape were made.

This is for the politicians...
Federal, State and Local, at once inept and indispensable, some more than others, caught unprepared, unconcerned, unshaven---Playing cat and mouse in a city of smoldering ruins, screams from the darkness of urgent plight, atavism gone awry. Ignorance and obviousness, the slow motion train wreck broadcast for all to see and discuss, obfuscate and ignore. Declarations of me and mine, you and yours, pitted squarely against they and them. This is for too little, too late, the same old song played at precisely the wrong time, over and over. Nagin, Blanco, Brown, Bush, please report center stage to assume the mantle of scorn and blame, everyone gets their turn...
This is for the ones that try to rewrite history or deny it outright, we wish we could deny it all so easily.

This is for the ones that died...
for the loved ones, the foolish ones, the forgotten and cumbersome alike. For the elderly, the infirmed, Vera in her cobblestone grave, the unidentified ones that received no such memorials. And our beloved household pets, loyal until the end. The parks and neighborhood greens, flora and fauna turned to a sepia-tone static gray. The houses, once renowned for their architecture, are reborn as new testaments to the destructive coupling of Mother nature and Human Folly. To the spray-painted X's, harsh and unrelenting, omnipresent in their emergency orange hue: 1 dog dead, 1 person saved. This is for the newest necropolis to rise, our once proud city, our interrupted way of life, breaks in the line of comfortable static. For the evidence of our empire, washed away in the eye of the storm and the turgid, toxic waters that followed.

This is for the ones that rescued...
the Firefighters, EMT's, Police Officers, National Guard. For the people from far and near that just appeared out of nowhere, just wanting to help any way they could, using anything waterborne. And for the locals brave and true, risking life and limb to save just one more person, over and over and over. For all of the endless, tireless, selfless sacrifices and tear jerking humanity. For their shining light of salvation into the boundless dark, onto rooftops, inside of hacked-out attics, out of harms way to higher ground. For beaming from all directions, these beacons of hope, springing eternal and true. This is for all those who lent a hand, however small or large. Our gratitude, more than could ever be conveyed, is all we have to offer in return.

This is for the media...
the good, the bad, the ugly, for the rescuers and the soothsayers, the shelterers and the kind words, for the dispassionate, the doubters, the cynical and the apathetic. The pundits and pontificators, their talking points and bad haircuts, feigning interest at all the scripted moments. For the smiles as the makeup is applied, the vacant suppression of harsh, unforgiving reality in plentiful evidence. The ones that control the present controlling the past controlled the future; as always, blissfully unaware of the consequences...
For the sidebars and scrutiny, the breaking news and tight focus close-ups, hands and mouths reacting in opposite directions, in equal amounts, all from the outside looking in. This is for updates at every quarter of the hour.

This is for the hospitals...
the nursing homes and hospices unprotected and ignored. Piling the dead or leaving them where they lay, morgues and freezers packed tight. This is for the generators that failed too quickly. No sleep or food or water or sanity or safety or hope. For our doctors and nurses, in hellish conditions, against impossible odds, this is for the ultimate and undying respect they deserve. This is for the thugs storming the gates for drugs and evil kicks on top of everything else happening, brash and ignorant of their crime...
For the hotels and hostels, kicking guest out to fend for themselves in our city gone mad. Inundation and tragedy, fragility and breakdown, the worst vacation, convention, honeymoon ever.

This is for the looters...
for the desperate, the prescient, the survivalist hordes. Scavenging and pilfering, salvaging and hoarding anything and everything of use in seemingly useless times. This is for the business owners, opening their doors wide to allow retrieval of water, food, diapers and formula, keeping their cool and doing the right thing. And for the pharmacies, their good intentions torn asunder by destructive addicts and wasteful ignorance like so many store display shelves. This is for the home invasions, the armed intrusions, for making a bad situation worse, for spreading the fear...
This is for the ones that made it easier even while others made it ever harder by the minute.

This is for the children...
the lost or outright abandoned, the marginalized or used, for the separation anxiety, trauma and tears on long hot nights that just got worse and worse. The unfamiliar and the dangerous, the abusive and profane, forsaking even common sense, for the lack of decency, for the bad examples and poor supervision. This is for the countless orphaned souls, forced to bear an adults pain with no advance warning, no preparation or guidance...
This is for the countless smiles, the innocence and playfulness, the ability to make it all disappear, if only for a moment at a time. And for their will, unbreakable and resolute in its purest form and function. This is for what we owe them, first and foremost; their satisfaction will be our compensation over time.

This is for the survivors...
all of us, if any of us, also still, the huge debt owed to those who didn't. This is for all of us in our sad, sad group, no matter where we are at the moment, home or abroad. For the hopes and dreams, reborn from the ashes of the ones previous, for our Phoenix on the bayou. For the nightmares and shock and ennui, the blank stares and paranoia deep into the night. And the helplessness, constricting, paralyzing, numbing...
This is for finding a way to get out of bed in the morning to go to work, gut your houses and reassemble your lives. This is for those that mourn their dead, their missing, their damaged. This is for all of us that are left to find their way back to some semblance of normalcy and well being in these dark times.

This is for the rest of the country...
witnesses to our plight, shelters in the storm, final arbiters of our collective destiny. This is for all of the numerous benefits and donations, the concerns and the heartfelt sorrow. The letters and emails, the long talks on the phone into those September nights and beyond, the shoulders to cry on and beds to sleep in. As well as the showers and food, simple things like ice and clean clothes. For the religious intolerance, the thought that somehow, we deserved this, that this was God's doing...
This is for the stupidity and hypocrisy, for throwing the first stone when we were down and out. This is for their fatigue, their need to move on, not towards a better understanding, but only to the next sad refrain. For helping us stand, then forcing us to walk away stronger and more assured. This is for those that are rebuilding with us, as well as for the ones that make us want to now more than ever.

This is for the world...
the governments and their citizens, for the superpowers and third-world nations alike. For their offers and advice, their engineers and city planners, the visits of rebuilding and improved protection. This is for the feeling that we weren't alone, that this has happened before elsewhere, only much worse, that it does get better with hard work and cooperation. For the lessons learned and experience shared; the first real promises of something good in uncertain times. This is for the most that we can share, our lessons, our triumphs and defeats, our heartbreaks and celebrations. This is for an open welcome to the grand rebuilding, our glorious comeback and their involvement in all that promises.

This is for the past...
and how not to repeat it. This is for shoddy levees and interrupted communications, driverless buses and improper shelters. For the wild ride to here, the respite in its warming memories, stories and legends yet to be told. The anecdotes and folktales, the ghost stories and the pirates' songs, for history and the curious wisdom it imparts. For the good times, the bad times, the in-between times, we all had them here in this place we called home, no matter if you're local or not. This is for why we still call it home today, even if we won't, or can't be here now. This is for the sacrifices, the sweat and blood, the personal tales of reward and loss. This is for the chance to finally get it right, to learn form our mistakes one more time, to teach others the same as well; it's that precious and rare.

This is for the future...
and the promise that it holds. For the chances in abundance, the endless, limitless boundaries presented. This is for the process of starting over, no matter how long or tough it turns out to be. For the ways to see beauty in the ugliness, to fashion something new and exciting out of something broken and in a state of disrepair. This is for our city, its legacy, our neighborhoods and families, friends and foes alike. For our scenes and cliques, parishes and wards, businesses and hangouts, for the determination to rebuild them all, damn the engines. Our wishes for a better way are here and now, ready and waiting, the concept of building better, stronger, and more secure. All we have to do is make it happen. This is for the here and the here from now on.

So this is for you, in your own private way. For peace, contentment, steadfast resolve in trying times. For dignity and patience, reassuring calm after the storm. This is for the knowledge that you are not alone, no matter how lonely it may seem right now. For your hopeful return to the place we call home, if not now, then in due time...
For the knowledge that she will wait for you, she always has, she always will...
This is for our fair lady, our New Orleans. Past, Present and Future...

How's Your House by Ian Hunter (Song at

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

...what I sometimes call Bent Synchronicity on the Back Hand Path. (BS on the BHP) Auspicious.

Regarding bug behavior, the day before Katrina made landfall, almost 12 hrs exactly, the Math Shopper and I were walking my dog Flora on the neutral ground (what we in New Orleans call the grassy median) between Elysian Fields, smoking a nice joint beneath the trees, kickin' logic theorems around like they'z jail-house punks when I spied a dozen fat trademark New Orleans Nightcrawler cock roaches lined up on a tree end to end, nose to tail, completely still but for their long antennae that wriggled about either side like fishing poles off a parade of longboats. These legendary beasts usually stand about 3 1/2 inches long X 2 inches wide? Though rarely seen in broad daylight, you can actually hear them walk across a street. When you do see them (and you will see them) at night, crawlin' across the banquette in the Quarters you must stop, look & listen. More often than not the roach will stop too, as if...considering you. If you somehow find the need, gonads or ova to mount one when it charges, or even manage to Pop It under both feet, every person within a block will duck from the sound of gunfire. {perhaps I embellish juuuust a bit:) But there they were, lined up and down the side of a Live Oak tree. "What the fuck?!?", we wondered. What if they notice us? Should we run now or just back away slowly, no sudden movements? Can they even see in broad sunlight? Aren't they blind, like so many in this city who find themselves somehow awake in the middle of the day? And hey! Why that particular side of the tree anyway and why nearly six feet off the ground? turned out. In the aftermath, we realized from the various & sundry debris nailed into the tree's windward side that the roaches had aligned themselves aerodynamically on the tree's leeward side to ride out the storm's approach, exactly. Bugs know...or at least next time we see nature going so oddly with her own grain perchance we should, errra, pay more attention?.
Ya' t'ink?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Suite Marigny

I can smell jazmine
covering this morning
like a wide cotten bed sheet
of white class lace.
And I taste
her breath of coffee
and cigarettes
and Maryjane
and Bloody Mary coughing
on the banquette by the gate

of this courtyard in the Marigny.

I lay me down my soul to sleep.
But the heat won't let me.
so I lie
and dream...

...of a dog park,
well, a bald green lot
with two trees
beside the coffee warehouse.
You can see the bags
loading in off the docks.
You can feel it on your skin
when they roast it up.
There the people gather
with their very best friends
and drink in the shade
and talk with the wind
while this flat bywater sunrise
finds them
laying down

their entire lives.

There was a time
when all these houses built from barge wood
gave strong men right lively hood
as they flooded in
from the river.

You may know the sounds
of unbroken belief
with a bucket of seed
and the pigeons beside you
as you slide down
the wet stones of the street
to a little cafe'
named for the goddess of flowers
where the Eight Ball lines up
with a Lucky 13
and Snake Eyes and Diamonds
and Demons in Chains
and the Angel waits
for St. Ann to begin
with her mask made of sorrow
and her laugh made of sin.

So when I die
do please carry me
down Royal Street
with a brass band
and a second line beat
by the courtyards in the Marigny
i lay me down
my soul to sleep

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Clock Face Socrates

Clock Face Socrates

I've got a clock in my face
and it is laughing
at this time and space
it finds lacking
a will to arise
some shake to awaken
that drive to arive
on this road so taken.
I ain't got it today
to fake my karma death,
stand behind a waterfall,
breath beneath its weight.
I can always find a way
away from my self.
No one has to pay me
for That!

I've got plants in my place
and they like me
better when I play
or when I am writing
my comedy
of Socrates
of his alleged death
'er the possibility
that they gave him Belladona
to fiegn his martyr's wish
and stole his ass away
on a stretcher.

Then he wakes with his friends
though he thinks he's gone to heaven
or where ever the Greeks
sent their questioners.

I asked my mama
if she could find me
a pair of Black Cow Boy
Boots to take the stage
in any nieghborhood
on any crowded street
in any antique doorway
where ever the people
freely meet...
Lest they bust me playing music
in The City That Care Forgot
and fine me a hundred dollars
and say they better not
find me playing music
in the Quarters after dark
and that goes for your little dog,
and that goes for you little dog

Aphasia Novella

Aphasia Novella

I hope well.
I've shifted over
to more music
since my writing seems
to go native.
Gone to ground!
So my spirit Simon Says.
I just needed a little real food!
Something fierce! Something weird...
Something fun...
Some kind word
from an old soul

from the old school
in the dark woods,
I found Iron John
by the still pool
for the wild boy.

Drop me a line.
I seem to've dropped off line lately.
Hard Work! & No Play!
have uncoiled my sence
of taste & timing
so I write...on paper
and my right hand shakes.
I read words worth nothing
to no one but me.
Still you never know who listens
and you never know who reads
though you might catch them dancing
and you might hear them

I want to sit like an uncarved
block of wood,
waiting for Goddess to make me
May be a statue. Perchance a cup
to hold peoples' memories
or the body of chaos.
She staddles the altar!
Bathed in Howoly Water!
With her hands she pours
the blood of the vine
through my porus heart.
You may know the sound
of the broken leaves
and I may watch the way that they fall,
as we climb to the top of our sacred tree
and we wait for the stars to follow!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Red Emma

Red Emma
She like her coffee
Strong as the revolution,
Sweet as Love.
With just a little cream?
To top it off.
To top it Off!

Put a sock in your mouth,
Never say a word.
Just stand there
And speak to a crowd
With the greatest silence
They ever heard.
Take a Quiet Scream
Into a Roar!
To top it off!
To top it Off!
...and we sing...

"If I can't dance I don't want to come to your revolution!"
If we can't dance, how're you gonna make me

I caught her out the other night,
Down on Castro Street,
Hanging up some button boards,
Still trying to legalize it!
She dropped a dollar in my case.
Said she liked my subtlety.
She was dancing when she walked away,
And I could hear her sing,
With just a little green
To top it off!
To top it Off!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Johnny Got His Gun

Johnny Got His Gun
inspired by Dalton Trumbo

My love, my country,
cries out to me, son
save me from reality.
No arms, no legs, no sight to see,
how I served my country,
now she's screwing me.
Still the VA hospital is a cat house affairdirty bed sheets, scurvy, cheap medical care
and the vets they lie and at the walls they stare
placing bets on the cock roaches racing there.

We've had nuclear power plants
that don't work at all...
but nothing for the vet who did
or his child, The Agent Orange Kid.
We've had money for new highways
& church-schools to bare...
but nothing for the vet who did
or his child running lonely
or his wife running scared.

So what about the soldiers
who fought and died,
drifting away with the Mekong tide.
Hell, they're dead & gone
so let's forget about them,
their wives, their children.
They were honorable men.
If all you want to do is live & let live
my love, my country well fuck you then,
because right or wrong our soildiers
they fought for us all
and the blood of America
tackes care of its own!
And the love of America
takes care of its own!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mad Night's Mourning Spin

Mad Night's Mourning Spin
{like a mad irish poet}

Bright morning light a'finding me

underneath some stairs asleep
where that Mad Dog's done taken me
away again.
While them thoughtless whores
and their washed-up scores
of this mad night's mourning
spin by me
I can see their nickle plated price tags
and count their baby-cake grins.
And the glad thing is
that no one knows me,
hear, no one can call
my name.
But the sad thing is
this show is going
and my friends aren't here
to see the game.
Well its saxophone players & pastry bakers,
juggling fools & candy takers,
little niggers dancing a tap dance
in thier worn-out black shoes.
And the wild wings of the sidewalk preacher
with the wino from thier park bench bleecher
jeer the crown chunkin' small change
like it was made of precious gold...
like it was made of precious gold!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Suite Marigny

Suite Marigny

I can smell Jasmine
covering this morning
like a wide cotton bedsheet
of white class lace.
Still I tasts her breath of coffee
& cigarettes & mary jane
& Bloody Mary coughing
on the banquette
by the gate...

of this courtyard in the Marigny.
I lay me down my soul to sleep.
But the Heat won't let me.
So I lie
& dream...

of a dog park
well, a bald green lot,
with two trees
beside the coffee warehouse.
You can see the bags loading
in off the dock.
You can feel it on your skin
when they roast it up.
There the people gather
with their very best friends
& drink in the shade,
& talk in the wind
as this flat ByWater sunrise finds them
laying down
their entire lives.

There was a time
when all these houses built from barge wood
gave strong men right livelyhood
as they flooded in from the river.

You may know the sounds of unbroken belief
with a bucket of seed and the pigeons beside you
while you slide down the wet stones of the street
to a little cafe' named for the Goddess of Flowers,
where the 8 Ball lines up with Lucky 13,
& Snake Eyes & Diamonds & Demons In Chains.
Still the Angel waits for St. Ann to begin
with her mask made of sorrow,
& her laugh made of sin.

So when i die
please carry me down Royal Street
with a brass band and a 2nd line beat
to a courtyard in the Marigny lay me down
my soul to sleep.

new orleans, spring 2005

Sunday, February 25, 2007



by Bruce Biles
New Orleans, Feb. 2007

I know what you're going to say, that if one listens too much to what "They" have to say then pretty soon one will begin to sound of Them. We know there is a "Them" (at least I do) and we also know They will go There and do That. However, by its own cultural longevity, a "saying", in truth, can transcend what any individual or ruling junta may say about reality. Thus the saying: "You don't always know what you've got until it's gone." contains a certain efficacy of both Opinion and Fact that I would like to address: the reality of the begining of Mardi Gras, still eighteen months after "The Troubles" in the City That Care Forgot and the President left to die.
As in Joni Mitchel's song, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. They Pave Paradise, Put Up A Parking Lot!", I entertain no Opinion as to whether anyone may or may not know what the have, in the first place, let alone what the have lost. While I don't remember ever falling in Paradise (perchance as I have always thought that one falls from Paradise) I can attest to Fact as to falling Down in a parking lot. It hurt. I suppose that in either place, some locations more than others and to differing degrees---all verifiable, the pain is real. We may or may not enjoy it. I don't want to get into any one's personal inclinations...different strokes for different folks and all that... BUT, when I fell face-down in a larking lot, it hurt. Try it and I doubt you will disagree with me on that one. Pain is Real, not opinion. That's a fact, Jack!
Now let us deal with what we stand to lose should we allow our Feckless Ruling Junta to get away with leaving New Orleans to die after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding and total breakdown of civil order. Day after day, as the water rose and became viscous with everything laid down over the decades, in a city nearly 200 years old, I waited for rescue. Not simply relief but rescue from absolute American mayhem. No police. No fire department. No sewage system. No emergency response. I listened to a single available radio station out of Baton Rouge nearly a hundred miles away and heard our Feckless Ruling Junta's Friends (who had been appointed as reward for political contributions rather than experience in the field) in charge of our country's Emergency Response, say that help was on the way, that they had everything under control. They said, "Trust us! Don't 'ya think We know how to manage a little disaster here? Don't you people know how to spell: Homeland Security?" Fact? Opinion? Ya' Think? To think or not to think means that we have already lost. That's a Fact, Jack. Do you have an opinion of what went down in this beautiful city where its inhabitants would recognize their own unique neighborhoods by the scents of jazmine vines climbing to the tops of the telephone poles. Do I care? {Will I turn into a neo-conservative bully by continuing to ask myself questions rather than addressing & answering any of yours factually?} No. I do not care for your opinion. I was there in Paradise. I fell down in the parking lot. It hurt as the Romance of it all broke my goddamned heart like watching The Crucifixion. Hence, whenever our Feckless Ruling Junta's friends---especially top $dollar$ ones---ask us to trust them I can feel the ill wind of pestilence coming for this country like the smell of shit in a dead man's eyes or the sound of flies buzzing out of his mouth. By its very nature, trusts in this or any Ruling Junta involves not Fact, Jack, but Armed Opinion. It requires Factjack!
This is what I call our Neck-less Ruling Junta's aggressive movement towards authoritarian doublethink management style. Factjack. Oh, can't you just bellyfeel it? Do you get the idea as well that by merely looking at the word it seems to obliterate meaning for miles around? Factjack involves the Theft of Fact by Armed Opinion. Fact: a verifiable statement of reality + Jack: to quickly, forcibly pry something loose with the intent to steal it. As with a Carjacking, one could be waiting at a traffic light, on their way to work during an Presidential election, when suddenly an armed criminal opinion steals their morning view with a campaign billboard which smears the Democratic presidential candidate and thrice-decorated Vietnam veteran---on his own war record---paidforbytherepublicanCommitteetoRE-EelectthePresident--- cowards who in fact hid themselves from military service. That's A Factjack!
It is a Fact that our Reckless Ruling Junta sent our army into another country, espousing a Babylonian labyrinth of daily shifting Opinions of Facts---no longer about why we invaded that country---but Opinions of Facts as to who in that country disagrees with our invasion of it and why they want to kill us. Not much argument about the Fact that they continue to kill us or the Fact that we invaded their country and continue to kill them---lots more of them.
It is a Fact that our Spineless Ruling Junta withheld even recognition of the devastation wrought by one of the largest man-made disasters to have ever hit this country for reasons and motivations of their own. It is a Fact that They left Me to Die in the City when They saw a Time to Kill It.
So our Restless Ruling Junta continues to ask us to trust them. They say they know what they were doing in Iraq, as they knew what they were doing in New Orleans. I say that is a Factjack! I say cell phone pictures from a torture prison are worth a thousand words. I say that to leave New Orleans like an open wound will lead to the fatal infection of our entire body politic.
is a fact, Jack!
Lassezes Le Bon Temp Roule'!!!