I, Too, Sing New Orleans: Photo of the Day Poems #Poetry #NewOrleans

Monday, May 6, 2019 – New Orleans, US – Photograph: Amy Harris/Invision/AP

The purple polka-dotted Fender is what got me.

I’ve never been to New Orleans; the closest I ever got was Gulf Shores, Alabama back in the late 90’s when my wife and I were living in Florida. I’ve never heard Buddy Guy in concert; my closest New Orleans musical experience was a live performance of Harry Connick Jr.’s Star Turtle in Pittsburgh. And I’ve only had real gumbo once in my life, homemade by a former colleague, an Italian, right here in Western Pennsylvania. But in the life of this image, I found entrance into the culture of New Orleans, and that led to the following poem.

The poem itself does homage to three great American voices: Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg. Walt Whitman heard America singing back in the 1800s, Langston Hughes added his refrain in the 1920s, and Carl Sandburg sang Chicago’s glory in 1914. I strongly encourage you to make a meal of this post and enjoy all four courses (follow the hyperlinks for each author). I can’t say that my offering deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as these icons of American poetry, but it certainly takes up the tune and adds to the wonderfully diverse voice of what it means to sing America!

Portrait of New Orleans

By Vincent H. Anastasi - 2019

Influencer of guitar legends
Clapton, Hendrix, Page
Richards, Vaughn, and Beck,
this is the man and the blues!
Black polka-dots punctuate
the long sleeve dress-shirt
end-stopped behind blue striped
bib overalls and a purple polka-
dotted, yellow-bodied Fender.

World-renowned city of the States,
Dixieland, Funk, Jazz,
Jambalaya, Gumbo, and Bisque,
this is New Orleans!
Festive and raucous carnival,
eating, costuming, bead-tossing and parading
from Canal to Esplanade Avenue,
the French heart of Bourbon Street
alive in the vibrant heritage of the Big Easy.

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