The tops of casino boats disappear between skyscrapers. Shrimp and grits, gumbo file and frozen hurricanes coat throats that shout to concrete murals through the bass. I walk through the convention center with my name on a lanyard. Slip past the Mississippi, watching brown currents stream each polar direction at once and ducks sitting unconcerned between churning riverboats. What am I even doing here?
I put my head down and take notes. Record lectures. Pluck the right restaurants, cocktails and streetcars from books and mouths. I settle into y’alls and skulls, wondering what I will be doing a year from now. I need folders. Containers. I need lists and compartments to organize the nothing that is my future. I am always sweeping my fresh dust, squinting into the wake of the debris. I understand him now, I understand his thick sauces and spices, his two block wide voice. I smell him on every street, on every menu behind glass. He’s the honking and the leather.
Five feet below us the dead ocean groans but all I feel are concrete graves six foot in reverse and the eyes of those who don’t have them anymore. Plantains and mangoes fight with fried alligator settling into a half blinked truce, dancing calypso and reading moth ridden pages but it’s all in French so I let my sight go double and stop trying. I breath afternoon thunder and hot sauce dreams, looking for magic in a stand up base. Looking deep in the smoky brick corner but everything I see is more salt on my tongue so I tip my drink until the music dissects into strings of Spanish moss that drain responsibility in tiny veins back to where it was born.