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Mike Schneider: New Orleans | Ragging Home

Romare Bearden, 1974
 
The tuba’s round eye of blackness
            stares straight at you as it burps
& burps again while the band
                  blows slow drag & rattle
down the alley where a brown woman
      leans from a balcony waving
a pink underthing, rippled,
                        shiny like a river. Play it
harder, she says as they shuffle
            past. She knows that every night
about this hour a rooster flies
                  high over the milky windows
& the horns bleat like sheared lambs
            missing their mama. She sways
her backside in rhythm, 2,500 miles
      of slippery river if you count
the bends, all the way south
                  to the delta, muddy vulva
of a continent, birthing
            a vibration, jazz, like a flutter
of wings, four white doves
                        crossing the blue darkness
in an arc below the moon’s
                  yellow sidewise smile.

‘New Orleans: Ragging Home” by Romare Bearden, 1974 (North Carolina Museum of Art)

The exhibition “Romare Bearden: Artist As Activist And Visionary” runs through Sept. 18, 2022 at The Frick Pittsburgh in Point Breeze.

Mike Schneider’s poem above first appeared in Motif: Writing by Ear, an anthology of writings about music, ed. Marianne Worthington (Motes Books: Louisville, KY, 2009). The poem also appears in Elvis Night at Johnny’s, a poetry chapbook by Mike Schneider (Broadstone Books, 2022).

5 comments on “Mike Schneider: New Orleans | Ragging Home

  1. loranneke
    July 24, 2022

    She knows that every night
    about this hour a rooster flies
    high over the milky windows
    & the horns bleat like sheared lambs
    missing their mama.” Wow! Great lines, Mike!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      July 24, 2022

      Thanks, Laure-Anne. Mike Schneider is a wonderful poet.

      >

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mike Schneider
      July 24, 2022

      Thank you, Laure-Anne. It’s great to know that one of my teachers has seen this & given a good grade. I hope you’re well.

      Like

  2. Sean Sexton
    July 24, 2022

    Oh this is so good! Thankyou!

    Liked by 2 people

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