Old “Poems”: Help!


We woke up when we heard her scream,
knowing well it was no dream.
Her cries for help, they did blaspheme
the night, which also must redeem.

We listened for a moment then
with fear and hope and hatred when
a stranger stopped to take her in
so we could go to sleep again.

But turning over in our bed
the echoes would not leave our head.
The city night we cannot tread
cannot be blamed for what we dread.

But morning bursting on the scene
will wash my conscience once more clean
while through the window, through the screen
are burglar bars, my quarantine.

New Orleans, 1982. I was starting my fourth year there, and crime – property and violent – was a seething underfoot fire in the city. I didn’t give up on the city, but I did surrender that neighborhood, that mansion, that apartment. I didn’t give it up with Katrina, and I won’t give it up when the sea reclaims it from our squandering, oil-soaked hands and trampling muddy boots & boats.

Why do I go singular in final stanza? I suppose I know deep inside, but I can’t explain it.

Update 8/26/2015: I originally wrote the first three stanzas in past tense, but I had a problem with “blasphemed”, so I changed it to present tense. I just figured out how to fix that, so those first three stanzas are again in past tense, as they should be.

Update 7/15/2016: Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt, and Lifelesson’s response to it reminded me of this old post of mine, so I’m doing a pingback to today’s prompt, “Nightmare”.

(Old “Poems”: I’ve been writing these little ditties, verses, near-poems since high school. Many are pedestrian; others are real stinkers. Some I still love. I worry that they’ll expire with the inevitable demise of my hard drive, so I decided I’ll put them out here, in the harsh, blistering, stinging, way-too-public cloud to live forever, for good or shame. (To write and self-publish is to court shame. Oh, the hubris!))

2 thoughts on “Old “Poems”: Help!

  1. Thanks for the “like” Senor No Remembre! I like this poem a great deal and it has told me it would like a little sister or brother! I too would like to have another!!! I appreciate all the hard work you do for me, “willing” that last view to come in to round out the numbers, but I would like to do the same for you–regarding your latest poem. I miss not reading thee. I know you do not “need” to write a poem. It is me who “needs” to read one!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.