Daily Archives: February 5, 2005

The Shelter of Righteousness

What good was in the world has gone,
if we proclaim, with innocence,
that justice has escaped our grasp,
while our hands show no sign of fight
and, at the end of stiffened arms
held at our sides, are soft and smooth.

And if those cloaks with which we hide
ourselves from other seeking eyes
do not after long years of wear
reveal at least a trace of mud,
perhaps it does no good to claim
our journey long and filled with strife.

Our eyes, that show no signs of stress
from endless nights by candle flame,
but still reflect an inner calm,
their focus fixed upon ourselves —
how dare we claim to see the prize
that others seek as merely dross.

With honeyed tongues, we speak of pain
as if it were a passing whim;
and would say it miraculous,
an intervention of the gods,
that our great struggle for the right
to live as we choose has found its end.

How smug and righteous we’ve become,
to think the universe so small
that it will measure its success
by how our fickle fortunes fall.
If we would claim all but us wrong,
what good was in the world has gone.

05 FEB 2005

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Mardi Gras Mumble

I never have been a big fan of loud, drunken crowds. Even when I am feeling loud and drunk, being surrounded by potentially out-of-control people gives me the willies. And this is the time of year in New Orleans when loud and drunk go together like purple, green and gold. Those colors in combination generally make me feel queasy, but during Mardi Gras, they give me a headache.

When I first moved to New Orleans, Stardances was an active member in the Krewe of Dreux. For those who do not know, Dreux is an underground Krewe that operates out of Gentilly. They have their own soiree, parade and royalty election, just like your more “acceptable” krewes, but they are composed of mostly locals who are interested in having a good time, drinking and staying out of the general spotlight. Well, hanging out with Dreux to excess can be unhealthy — particularly if like me you are diagnosed with the potential for fatty liver. So largely thanks to me, our Krewe-hanging and general drunken mischief making has been curtailed.

Maybe I’m getting old. Or maybe I’m becoming more interested in getting that way. But today was Parade Day for Dreux, and we did not attend. It’s cold, and the bottom line is while there are a small number of people I miss and would be interested in talking to, for the most part, the element that goes to parades (of any kind) is only really tolerable when both you and they are getting, or already, drunk. And that seems to me to be a poor way to have to maintain a relationship. If the entire fabric of your social existence hinges upon being drunk, or being in an environment where you can get drunk (or high, or anything else, for that matter), it feels like there often is more lubricant than substance to the whole situation.

I’m sorry. My worldview has changed. I used to say, for example, that I didn’t want to play in a band with anyone I wouldn’t feel comfortable dropping acid with. That’s always seemed a pretty good watermark as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think I would abandon it all together. However, I might just as easily say the reverse — that I wouldn’t want to drop acid with anyone I didn’t feel I could play in a band with. Or something like that. What I’m driving at is this: if I don’t feel that you and I would get along when both of us are sober, if I don’t think that sober it would be possible for us to have either a good time, or an interesting conversation to say the least, why in the world would I be interested in “loosing up our mutual inhibitions” so that we could, in a haze of illusory bonding, pretend that we didn’t need alcohol to improve our relationship?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe Mardi Gras is one time of year I really miss serious drinking. After all, it is a great excuse for doing that, and pretty much just that. I don’t need any more beads, and the thought of seeing another set of bare breasts (that don’t belong to my better half) is not that high up on my list of must-dos.

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