sounds vaguely French


Benjamin Latrobe – sounds vaguely French?
A British architect
tapped to repair, perfect
the Capitol (amid the stench

of swamp & burning).  Dogged by debt
& selective smear campaigns
sets off for New Orleans
to finish big water-works his late

son Henry had so blithely begun
(cut down by yellow fever
in September).  Ever-
green cypress can withstand the rain.

New Orleans doorways lead you back
in time (Edgar Degas
plein air sketches...
moss-green veneer, live-oak

with levee-wash).  Mississippi
spills relentlessly
into the blue & salty
Gulf.  Her sea-monstro be you & me,

O Jessie O.  L’architecture
de l’Amerique c’est plain
& simple, utilitarian –
only... we’d like to see that azure

Paradis, un jour.  Le bateau ivre
des pirates-frรจres, Lafitte...
en bas le bayou, sweet
Benjy.  Lisez ton ombreux livre.


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