Letter to New Orleans for New Year's Eve

This poem appeared in Tuesday's Philadelphia Inquirer Commentary

Refinery Deal Pays Off
(Letter to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve)

There are the dead & those who talk to the dead
         through song    The parade is almost here &

this is an American mirror    Squint hard
    to see the Ninth Ward see Two Street    America

Cities are mothers that never stop raising
                   as long as the rhythms continue

And I will raise them up    And I will raise them up
And I will ra-ai-se them up on the last day

         Bayou Eagle feathers sewn into headdresses
keep the five-fifths citizen beat & burning

crude in the purified cold will be a dance called
         the dirty phoenix    This is American music

    A new year is coming with us    a dedication
Rebirth is playing our song    Don’t let them steal you

We come to party we come to remember
       We come to party & will not let you die