rendezvous, Rue de Ursulines

yellow crescent moon
over Crescent City,
waxing, like my wanting

more potential voodoo than a full moon could have conjured
crawls out of the spreading shadows on Orleans Street
like a monster cockroach from your worst apocalyptic dream
as sun sets over clean, suburban Metairie
where they have no idea what is happening here

saturated air, as close as personal history
carries ominous, mysterious portents
that inspire objectless anticipation
like an itch i can't quite reach --
unfulfilled old longings recollected suddenly;
desire long sublimated rising in me like a primal moan

i walk the cobbled cracked uneven sidewalks of the Vieux Carré
too tempestuous inside to sleep;
a crucial thing is missing, i am negatively charged
my shadow catches up with me, then reaches for the unknown
that's ahead
          but aren't you afraid to go out walking there at night?
no; especially not tonight.
i am invulnerable, somehow:
i walk and others step aside to let me pass --
bleached blond gay in leather chaps and little else and
shoeshine boy on Bourbon Street

who'll bet a buck that he can tell me where I got my shoes
and whores of all kinds
understand that i'm not buying --
what i'm looking for is no thing that they've ever even had
to sell
and maybe isn't of their Earth

i want to see your forehead and your cheekbones pink
with sunburn and the neon of a beer sign;
your jaw and straight, strong nose
like burnished bronze in candleglow
your eyes darkened by passion, deep and black as interstellar space
glittering with constellations of reflected flame
and possibilities of travel to new,
unimaginable worlds

like any thing of quality
the journey just requires time

time with you is what i haven't had

time without you telescopes, distorts: i want it to be over
i want to start Time over now with you, expanding,
just until the universe we know will fill
a second-storey room-and-bath with balcony French doors thrown wide
to admit the heavy salty humid air,
laden with the fragrance of fresh-baked D'Or croissants
the clip-clop of the tired carriage horses on the paving bricks,
the murmuring of tourists much too self-absorbed to hear their driver telling them
that where I would lie touching you, this sanctuary thirty feet above them
was, once, long ago, a convent

i believe this passion is divine
as any that inspired this room's historical inhabitants
in the deepest reaches of their souls

being in this room alone feels wrong, discordant, incomplete; yet
i've no faith or reasonable hope
that i will find you here
that you will give me

i stand before a storefront on Decatur Street
the sun has risen over herons, hermit crabs and egrets,
bayou grasses, damselflies and water striders
i have walked, but now am motionless and
contemplating severed snake and alligator heads, Mardi Gras masks,
colorful cheap trinkets, Catholic icons, mudbug t-shirts:
            do ya eat da tails? do ya suck da heads?
don't be shy about extremes here

and i'm not

afraid to think, or say, or do
whatever it takes, either
to effect desired destinies

did Ruthie rollerskate behind me just then on the sidewalk?
did you just walk into Café DuMonde -- alone?
we perceive -- believe -- what we most want
and Love Potion Number Nine will work on you
if you can be persuaded

powders, potions, poultices and leathers, metal,
fur and feathers, wands and stones,
chalices and amulets -- the ju-ju of old cultures
and the newest: virtual cyberpunk playrooms,
batteried, electric and inflatable devices,
latex products in the shapes and colors of all fantasies

you can get them here

but that isn't how i want you
-- not compelled by magicks
of the supernatural or supermarket --
you will come to me
when you want me

so i won't stroll toward Café DuMonde now
if you won't tell me yes
right now
i will forego the answer
until later
you know i am staying at the convent -- alone

Thea Chesley