Beneath the rust and the gray toxic dust
left behind when the water went down
past the edge of the Quarter’s bright lights and disorder
there’s nothing much left to this town
Maybe the Crescent City was never too pretty
for more than three blocks in a row,
but it made our lives fuller, regardless of color,
and now it’s someplace no one else can know.
You may know what it means to miss New Orleans
from a Mardi Gras record or two
but what’s gone’s gone forever; rebuilding will never
bring back Nawlins rhythm or blues.
‘Cause the heart of this city is broken in two
where the levees burst that afternoon;
and the warm welcome mat that asked “Hey, where ya’t?”
won’t be back again any time soon.
All the grand old traditions, corrupt politicians,
the trash tourists leave every year,
they’re all gone, or in trouble, buried in the rubble
that may take a lifetime to clear.
What they bring back will not be
New Orleans, not to me;
the places they’ve saved just are not
more than pretty postcards
of wrought iron and front yards:
ghosts of the town that care forgot.
08 DEC 2005