Because there was fracture and friction, I sang.
Caught in a prism of pastel pains, punctured through and through with dull threaded needles of dread and suffering, a product of the nimble fingers of sinners seeking absolution, a patchwork child.
I remember the soft, gentle ache of a sad thing, the warm shadows of mourning people haunting the spaces around me. I remember the distant, veiled echoes of desperate lies and bitter words. They would rather forget the desolate spaces they led me to, cloaked in fur and saccharine glaze to shelter me from the howling cries of “Hear us as we try and toil.”
The memory is one of a crooked, feral child, jolting with the intermittent aches of vague nightmares, asleep on the floor of an Italian restaurant, wrapped in my mother’s fox furs. It is the first in which faceless fear is met with a measure of celebratory abandon and the manic pace of a drunken dance. It is this that brought me to seek spaces in which they, as wild beasts performing satanic verses in the breast of a forest fire, meet desolation with hedonistic hilarity.
When I was very small, and my parents were violent with a ripe crimson kind of love, I slept through them. What I know now is the birth of an addiction to frantic saturnalia, a covenant with chaos. Where romance is fed with grime and lullabies punctured with sweat and swearing.
I sought out spaces through this kaleidoscopic aperture, and I came here to find what it was that had been gift and given.
Because it is a city that revels in the mystique of its own pale misery; a town that swells and bloats to meet the tides that swallow its hallowed ground.
Because it is the broken fingers of dying willow tree, the splinters of broken mardi gras beads sparking the raw skins of potholes laid bare to the salt and humidity above and below. It is the bloated carcasses of overfed swallows and sedated alligators lining the lips of the bayou. Around which the people of this place fish for seashells and secrets.
There is silence in the sound, there is sorrow in the song. New Orleans calls to those that mourn the madness and seek the storm.
Camille Louise teaches English to high school students in New Orleans! She is a creative writer and poet as well! Be sure to check out her site (where this story was first published on September 2, 2018!)