TWO POEMS by Alexander Roussel

That’s What I Am!

Bonfire builders from way down the river,
These are my people.
The proud son of a Mardi Gras queen
And the festival king – that’s what I am!
I know I’m home
When I see the cypress peekin’ out
From the low-hanging fog.
Seafood boiled, spiced and crimson
Against the green of the marsh –
Christmas in the southland.

Pelicans suffocating, covered in crude,
Oysters dying in warm brackish beds,
Angry – that’s what I am!
Oil poisoning ev’rything it touches,
Creoles and Cajuns jobless and scared.
This is not how it is supposed to be,
Destruction of paradise was not in the plan.
Black gold companies, big and fat,
Scramble to find a real solution.
I’m afraid before they do, the coast will be dead,
Frightened – that’s what I am.


Shrimp & Petroleum

Pink curls, kisses of blush rosiness
Shelled with long whispy whiskers
Rise in heaps and mountains diving
Peeled naked into dollops of dip.

He and she sit waving regally
To loyal subjects, hungry for even a glance…
From those rhinestone shrimp and derricks,
Those enthroned two – accountant & beauty queen.

Ferris wheel spins lazily ‘round as children squeal
In delight at winning a white rabbit…
Rusted metal glitters and twirls about jammed full of
Trend-seeking teenagers prepared to self-nauseate!

That native man hawks his wooden flutes as… ‘one of a kind.’
Ev’rybody seems to be selling incense – and accessories!
Bonsai, Schnauzer wallets, and potato peelers…
This craft show has everything no one ever needed!

Alligator, shark, squirrel, or perhaps just chicken – and all of it on a stick!
Foot-long corndogs, Chinese gourmet, and carnival cuisine… thirsty?
People stumble around slurpin’ hurricanes, piña coladas, daiquiris, and
Alcohol of nearly every imaginable variety. Yes, beer too!

Shrimp boats parade ‘cross the muddy river,
Past the red lighthouse, under both bridges – old & new
Banners wave in the afternoon sun, holy water is flung out t’wards
Each vessel – a blessing over this royal festival fleet.

Music blasts out from dawn ‘til well into the night,
Zydeco, swamp pop, and cover bands take the stage,
Ready to entertain the masses of inebriated party-goers
Celebrating faith & family, shrimp & petroleum – life!

Mr. Charlie grumbles in the darkness as blasts of color explode overhead,
Clashes of red, yellow, blue, white, green, and orange light up the sky
Spectators cheer from both riverbanks and both bridges,
The hum of the fair is heard b’tween each boom – the whole scene is glowing.

Children stare doe-eyed as the fireworks blossom above,
Friends chit and chat over that plate of pink boiled perfection,
Believers pray together in the park beneath the oak-limb cathedral,
Community is seen for all that it is… this one celebration.


Alexander Roussel is a life-long resident of Louisiana.   He is  the adopted son of a mardi gras queen and a festival king.  He is a
life-long writer and is currently in college majoring in English. 

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