New Orleans... hmmmm. Can't decide if I like it or not. Definitely not at first. Something very charming about the French Quarter. Wandering the streets among the whores and transvestites (and normal people too) just gave me the feeling that there was something very spirited about this place. I really like the brashness of their sin, it's just so unapologetic. The zydeco music works like an anti anxiety drug, like verced.

It lifts you up and over the smell of vomit and cigarette smoke, the dirty street, the sound of a bottle dropping and breaking, the guy asking me to shine my shoes, and then telling me he can tell me what city and state I bought them in... the woman walking toward me smiling... I smile back (shocked) and then mouths, "Hi", which I can't hear, but read loudly enough... the neon, the French balconies, the elbows and plastic plants draped over them, the blues on one side and zydeco swirling on the other... plastic beer cups in the open... beads in the forever-mardi gras shops... "topless and bottomless"... up and over.

I could have stayed and gotten caught up in it. Like believing a movie is real. Like seeing yourself in the story... in the scene. During the scary parts, saying to yourself, "It's just a movie." But there was an urgency also in me. An urge. To remember where I had come from last year. And how it is I'm still here... Always seems to come up.

It defines me now. The log. My flat left lung that couldn't have taken in cigarette smoke if I'd lit one up. The waiting through a good day then a bad one. And the result, me here somehow, for whatever reason, still alive. Glad for it, and glad for the quiet of this hotel room, that womb-like bed that will swallow me into sleep in just a minute.

Glad to be here, yes. Glad when the time will come for me to go back through the membrane. And uncertain why I cannot remember all the time, cannot live in the urgency of the memory that music much sweeter than zydeco, more spirited, will lure me to my heart's desire... to Christ, glowing brighter than neon. Passing the streets with others who mouth "Hi" and smile...but who stop and share a decade or two in the time it takes for one human heart to beat.

That's what finally walked me back to the hotel on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Streets. It was just a movie..... It was just a movie..... was