waitress poems

Thursday, September 08, 2005

CHICKEN MAN

Note: This poem, a celebration of New Orleans' famous jazz funerals, was first published in the jazz magazine, Brilliant Corners. It was the first poem I chose to put up on the blog. With all of our minds on the city of New Orleans and its endangered culture, I thought I would post it again.


When I die, I want a funeral
like the Chicken Man had
in New Orleans. For once,
let them bury a shy writer
like they bury voodoo priests--
with gin splashed on my old suit and
two white horses to drag me
in my sorry box
through streets exalted
by sweat and neon.
May enough people know me
for my eccentricity or for my songs
that a few will join
in the ecstatic mourning
when the man with the black umbrella
steps forth to lead my parade.
Let the the dirge be short and
the jazz blow
till the sidewalks cough up steam
and every shoulder shimmies.
If someone steps up
to speak of me, make sure they say
that like the Chicken man,
I was a poet,
fated to walk through life
in a black top hat
with a monkey skull in one fist,
a staff
topped with a plastic human hand
in the other,
and that when I had them,
I passed out candles
to the multitude
who still clamor
for blessings on the street.

20 Comments:

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    By Blogger Jon, at 8:12 AM  

  • Wow. Now they're using my humble little poetry blog to try to sell acne meds. Just how deep to these advertising types want to get into our psyches?

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 9:21 AM  

  • I want a fueral like this also, I also want to have it long before I die, it would be too good to miss, or have to watch from a great distance. Love this very much, so hard to comprehend what's going on out there, we tend to forget how big your county is, I supose in the developed world we just expect all hands on deck and if not prevention at least a speedy rescue of the victims, the whole thing just looks like a war zone

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 11:39 AM  

  • No cures for acne, or anything else for that matter, but I do like your blog, and I find "Chicken Man" funny, moving, and convincing.

    By Blogger Bill, at 8:35 PM  

  • looks like there's gonna be a queue for these occasions
    this is so true
    i've had enough of empty litanies by dour clergymen who have never met the deceased

    By Blogger floots, at 11:21 PM  

  • Wonderful, the feel of these events is hard to describe even after you have seen one in person, you have managed the difficult with ease and grace.

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  • To Sue, Bill, Floots, and Erik: Your comments are much appreciated.

    And to Gizmo: I'll be sure to recommend your San Diego Dating service to the chicken man, next time I see him.

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    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 1:01 PM  

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    I posted the answer to your question about the yellow blouse on my blog, which is only known to cure "sad face", but may give you laugh lines as a side effect. Peace to you!

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  • What a shame we can't really fry the spammers, what happened to the bus poem? I thought the internet was being a pain, have you unposted it

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 10:50 AM  

  • Sue, it wasn't the internet. It was me. I removed the bus poem and a few others which I may submit for publication.

    Thanks for noticing!

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 9:58 AM  

  • Ah I see, that would seem to be a good reason

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  • Patry, I love this poem. It says it all so well.

    Don't let those acne vendors into your life or your blog!

    You know, sometimes I want to leave a comment over at Marvelous Garden but there isn't the option of being an "Other", as there is here. Can you fix it so that comments are allowed there from those who are not Blogger users?

    By Anonymous Natalie, at 10:44 AM  

  • The only perminent cure for acne I know of is death but it's a drastic solution bound to end in tears

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 12:28 PM  

  • Sue: getting old cures acne pretty well also. At least, it worked for me.
    But maybe jon (with that mocking gleam in his eye) and musica (who felt the need to comment twice) know my adolescent secrets and have followed me here to taunt me.

    Natalie: Haven't checked on this blog or posted either--which I should correct. (Too many shoulds in my life, but that's another story.)
    Anyway, thanks for your visit, and I would love to get a comment from you on the Garden. Will have to go and check out the situation right now.

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