blackbirdonline journalFall 2009  Vol. 8  No. 2
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Self-Portrait in a Tourist’s Snapshots

Tourist, in a white carriage by a donkey
pulled backwards, is that what you call
the Big Easy life? Look at you—

feather boa bold at the piano bar
bugging your waiter for the same old songs.

I’ve been there, at the fountain holding court
with a tambourine and a shot glass of limes.

Mira! My gringa foot inside the powwow circle.

Blur of red sequins, red carnival mask,
penciled beard smeared—can’t always tell
which devil I am, which baby doll,

what the glitter letters on umbrellas spell
when the divas line up in order of height.

At the second line parade, I’m one step
closer than you to the fanned out ostrich plumes
and orange, thrown down tuxedo jackets.

Sammy, my youngest, rides my shoulders.
We’re in the gig. Tuba boss blows back at us.
The gravediggers shovel and sing.

Do me a favor—right the plastic flowers
in the vase before you start
a charcoal rubbing of my people’s names and dates.

When you look down from the tour bus window
like a politician on a goodwill tour,
I’m drinking hose water.

As a backdrop, pink insulation thistles.  end

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