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Krewe de Contraste by Daniel Kasriel

-In Memory of Hunter S. Thompson


I arrive on a clear head
Clouded by the congestion of
Nasally traffic, of common destinations—
Still clean, but the vapors already creeping
Into our lungs, soon our stomachs
Then, even if I could see straight
I wouldn’t want to; I want to
Join the drunken ants stumbling
From one esoteric task to another,
Cold outside but warm within as you
Watch through an empty bottle, 38
Stories up, on a down-covered king bed;
Cloistered from the card carrying cross bearers
With PVC pipe plus-signs and positive messages
About fire and light, neon light that screams sin
Screams come in and bend your mind around
The legs of a man who will reverse roles
For a crisp, confused buck;
A hard earned dollar disappearing
Faster than the beggar children tapping away the
Midnight hour for the sweet clunk and ching of
Dirty coins dropped into empty cardboard lives.

dyslexic wej (9:17:54 PM): II.

Lighter now, lighter than the ubiquitous scent of
Stale beer and sundry smoked stems and leaves
Hymns and leaflets, litter the ghost streets with their
Erie moan, the steady drone of street sweepers
Lifting the empty bottles, still heavy in my head
Like the over-hanging balconies, once filled with
Masked smiles that shared the screams and
Cheers! A toast to our good fortune
Cookie from the Moon Wok;* packaged perfection—
Like the statues in the street who mime the
Motions of being a man dressed in robot form;
And like wind off the Mississippi, this place won’t
Let up: the scraps of memory blowing down the alley
Remind me that I was there, that I was alive.

*A gay-friendly Chinese restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans

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