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Mona Lisa Saloy.
“Louisiana Log.”

(For Bob Kaufman)

Land south of the Mason Dixon, of Gulf waters and Mississippi tug-boat sighs

Land of cane, rice, & watermelon (jungle plums), po-boys, patios, patois, pecans, pecan pies, pralines, and papier maché masks

Place of Oak-tree swamps, pine & cypress with hanging grey moss punctuated by peacocks and pirouges

Land of Creoles, Cajuns, Black Indians, cawains, mud-bugs, catfish, and bayou crooners

Region of hot, wet air, heavy with hurricanes, honeysuckle Irish hash, and Haints

Land of Black-faced Zulus, Louis Armstrong, river dragons, and Griots, grits and gris-gris with Loup Garu sunsets

Zone of cock fights, absinthe, tafia, anisette, and gospel groups, congris, and gravel sidewalks

Land of dreep-fried fritters, the boot state, trying to keep its head afloat, the long-lake state, the polluted Ponchartrain, the tooth-fair state, the koon-ass state, the red-pepper state, the home of Tobasco Sauce

The U.S. precinct of Mardi Gras and street parades with great flambeaux and marching bands, the best in the south land

Home of pelicans and cranes, roaches a finger long that fly and face you at sun-up

Climate of smiling eyes and hand shakes and great hugs and southern how-dos, when everyday’s a come-on-out-of-the-thundershower day

Longitude of lagniappe, yeah-you-right, and star-lit nights

Meridian of courtboullion and hush puppies, gumbo and deathless days, everyday hallelujahs, crayfish bisque, praying in tongues, novenas and graveyard gifts of lilies, silver dimes and bamboula

Tropic below sea-level, of Scorpio and Saint Joseph salutations, people who parade, paint faces and forearms like iris’ & demons

Domain of bayous levees, canals, alligators, Bogalusa and wrought-iron fences

Neighborhood of Voodoo good luck and yam crops and mis-believes, the pass word is party, and umbrellas dance

Latitude of Leprosy and soy beans, clover and jasmine, mildew, and dead moss

Vicinity of sidewalk cafés and boulevards, preachers and priests with cathedrals of Saints’ bones and Atchafalaya

Soil of courtyards and river blues, Professor Longhair piano riffs, Zydeco, and Rosaries on Wednesday nights

The Mahalia Jackson and Fats Domino belt, where the Saints come march, where you find your thrill

Terrain of cotton and fire flys, bumble bees and cats, tiger-striped to Siamese in alleyways and garbage heaps of oyster shells and shrimp leavings (there’s more cats per square inch here than most states)

Department of Big Chief, café au lait and beignets, galait, and cous cous & milk

Sphere of Classical & Dixieland Jazz, R & B, bayou blues with Baptists, Catholics, and the Ku Klux Klan with Jazz singers and souls crying

State of Chocolate City #10 with fortune tellers and spiritual healers, wall geckos, muddy water, and missionaries

District of sweat and shade, The Second Line, Mississippi moon-lit nights, Saturday night suppers in the back yard, the sanctioned speakeasies

Confines of Thibodaux, Tchoupitoulas, Houma, and Louisiana Red in wing tips

Nativeland of jive and jambalaya, the Crescent City — the city care forgot and remembered, “for true.”



Saloy, Mona Lisa. Red Beans and Ricely Yours: Poems. New Odyssey Series. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Pr., 2005.

Saloy, Mona Lisa. Second Line Home: New Orleans Poems. New Odyssey Series. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Pr., 2014.

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