So you can read my books

Friday, December 7, 2018


Among scars, I am the fresh wound,
Among days, the one that never comes,
Among the bones you find on the beach
the one that sings was mine.

- Lisa Mueller

Each city has its own voice with its own distinct song.

The song is louder in the dead of night.

My city ...

Its sprawling expanse cups a beautiful rippling lake which it poisons daily with the petro-chemical plants bordering it like Mordor did Middle Earth. 

If you look up, an eye-aching blue sky will take your breath away. In more ways than one. 

It has absorbed the poisonous fumes from endless stacks for so long, breathing the air in a course of the day is like smoking four cigarettes. 

City and state politicians swear all is safe. The national newspapers cite the city as capitol of Cancer Alley which runs along the Gulf Coast. 
The city is a strange meld of something Tennessee Williams and Upton Sinclair might have written in a joint affair -- emphasis on Tennessee Williams. 

One of my older friends was once the "disciplinarian" of the local Hells Angels. 

I have seen a side of the city few have. He was also once a E.M.T. for the one ambulance service here. 

Often he told me of dragging into the center, covered in blood, too weary from the many calls to immediately clean up. 

He would turn on the TV in the break room and hear the local news proclaim the police stating that all was normal. 
He laughed, 

"I suddenly knew their definition for normal: four car accidents, two shootings, and one fatality."

 I have a Non-Aggression Pact with the city. 

I don't mess with it. And it considers me too small to notice. 

It still possesses great beauty. 

But like ugly scars criss-crossing a beautiful woman's face, progress slashes away at it. 

 Terrible poverty and bleak living conditions often within blocks of opulent mansions. 

The poor turning upon themselves. The oblivious rich attending sprawling, ornate churches. 

Business owners committing suicide on the premises of the local casinos after having lost all. 

Silence on the TV and on the radio. 

Jokes among the citizens that the logo of the local TV news is the three monkeys covering eyes, ears, and mouth.

The Plants and the casinos feed the city's treasuries. Cancer rates, ruined lives, and closed businesses are proclaimed independent of the cash cows.

Then, why stay? 

It is the city in which I spent my teenage years. All the friends I made, I made here. 

Here is where I grew to know my mother as one adult knows another. 

This is the city in which all my friends live. 

The common people here have a zest for living that I have seldom met elsewhere. 

If they hate you, you know it.

If they are your friend, they always have your back -- even when it would be smart to look the other way. 

They live large. 

Broad, bold strokes for them. No small, mean snipes. 

The city loves Mardi Gras so much that it has found a way to have two of them every year. 

No ambushes from smiling faces. 

And the last time I checked, the powerful eat the helpless in every city in every state.
And in a few minutes, you can drive to great expanses of wildernesses. 

In fact, one of the last great American wildernesses is only minutes from here: 

the Creole Nature Trail. 

{ for a more detailed description of it from me go to} 

Drive it long enough, and you can catch the faint breath of the ocean. 

It is like the Great Mystery reminding me this land had once been a clean wilderness, 

where the waves came in, creamed up to the shore, and their breath smelled of something besides hot fear and cold greed. 

 Now, I sit at night on the terrace of my apartment bordering a small rippling bayou, 

watching the graceful egrets and floating beer bottles while listening to the voice of the city.

In the distance, the banshee wails of police sirens and ambulances. 

The night is never silent long here. 

In the darkness, somebody is always runing and somebody else is trying to catch him. 

I look into the blackness and know somewhere out there, 

people are hungry, sick, forlorn, desperate with fear or loneliness. 

And others are shaken by sobs or anger. 

Mankind is not very kind.

It is a city no worse than others. 

A city filled with hope, pride, and ambition. 

But mostly, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness.

This is the city I know.


  1. Hi Roland!

    "Harlem Nocturne" is indeed the "song of the city" - the city late at night when blood boils and danger lurks 'round every street corner. The throaty sax mimics the wail of the siren, the cry of the mortally wounded. I am reminded of the Mike Hammer series which used the haunting instrumental as its theme.

    "graceful egrets and floating beer bottles"

    "the banshee wails of police sirens and ambulances. The night is never silent long here."

    I see it. I hear it. I smell it. I feel it.

    Thank you, my new friend, and have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, Del! I just got in a mood last night. Yes, I was introduced to Harlem Nocturne by Mike Hammer. Have a great weekend, too. Me, I will be doing rare blood runs to rural hospitals both days. Saving the world one ill patient at a time. :-)

  2. Every town and city has its good and bad points. But home is where we make it regardless. I love where I live because my friends and church family are all here. Why would I go anywhere else?

    1. The people we love is what makes a place home to us, right?