NOLA – Eric Syrdal


Before the Storm:
Chronological reference to our lives that were

During the Storm:
Chronological reference to our lives in exile

After the Storm:
Chronological reference to our lives as they currently exist

When we speak of events
around here
this is how we
give a point of reference
to each other

Everyone who lives here
who calls this place
Everyone who
and everyone who understands
has the same physical response
when it is spoken

it is a head nod…

Sometimes it is accompanied
by closed eyes

Sometimes it is accompanied
by a look to the ground

Sometimes it is accompanied
by a tear or a pinch
at the back of the throat

I love
the wrought iron heart
of this city

Polished stone
next to crumbling brick

She’s very old
And her soul
has lived many Lives
she is tattooed in beauty and pain

She always holds a sense
of hope

Like a gris-gris bag
hiding in the corner of the room
behind the heavy curtains
that pool on the floor

whispering prayers
to ancient ghosts

Her skin is dark
and wonderful
and shares a shade
with the cafe’ au lait
floating in my cup

Shares a shade…
with the muddy water
of the Mississippi

Crescent City,
She spoons Old Man River
like a lover
pressing her creole lips
against the back of his shoulder

Speaking to him
In her sultry southern voice
full of accents
and inflections
from antiquity

He’ll take her love
with him on his
journey to the ocean
and she’ll wait for him
to return

And she has waited
for me

Whenever I am gone
she welcomes me home
with the open arms
of ancient live oaks
the dainty lace
of spanish moss

And her heat…

Since I was born
In her house
She has kept me warm
against her bosom

At times
a shimmering haze
on a June day
or the steady trickle
of sweet sweat
down my neck
on a sweltering august

Her warm embrace
of my life
has made it
so that I shiver
anywhere else on the
and I crave the crush
of her arms around me

She calls me
in every rumble
of the street car
in every answering echo
of the steamboat’s whistle
in every gently floating
melody on a saxophone
in every swallow
of sweet ice tea

I belong
to her…

I am hers…
and she is mine.



Eric Syrdal is an independent poet/author. He’s an avid gamer and Sci-Fi enthusiast. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy literature and spends a great deal of his writing time focused in those genres. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives with wife and two children.  You can read more Eric’s writing at My Sword and Shield….

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