Shakespeare in New Orleans

For Clare Moncrief and Chaney Tullos, and the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane

This birthplace of jazz is creating some heat,
A syncopated soul with Shakespearian beat –
Road-breaking blues –
Humming to the rhythm of the gumbo street,
Kicking up the heart of your poetry feet –
Ain’t nothin’ to choose,
And nothin’ to lose,
Just give yourself over to the fiery muse.

Take a saxophone streetcar named Desire
To Elysium Fields and the funeral choir,
Where memories cream;
On Bourbon Street, where the people hire,
They are set alight with Wild Prince fire –
An Eastcheap scream,
Takes one for the team,
And love-juice flows like a musical dream.

I am diggin’ the echo of that festival haze,
From Twelfth Night through to those Lenten days –
A roaring style –
Crowning each moment in a beaded blaze,
The thunder is sweet when Duke Ellington plays,
A Puckish smile,
Will gently beguile,
Our revels won’t end from Mississippi to Nile.

Come tell me, Titania, tell me your woe,
‘The wastes of Katrina make my hot tears flow –
The innocent pay –
My grief’s in the wind where the loud trumpets blow,
But it’s time to hang silk and get on with the show,
Chase those blues away,
But the jazz can stay –
Like the moon in my heart that burns through my day.’

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Follow our journey across North America in search of Shakespeare