Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Music House

by Jean-Mark Sens


“This is just what we do in New Orleans,” he [Quintron] says. “It’s a kooky town, full of great musicians that just can’t keep their hands still, building stuff and tearing it down and inventing newness out of rubble.”–

Should you judge—you never judge a man by his name—neither a woman
the cliché of the book by its cover
so entering the Music House—taking the back alley
dominoes of stones unweeded with anarchist ferns, blue mosses caulking the seams
you may walk, hopscotch, amble, saunter,
just wheel your bike to the wall, tinkling a few repetitive notes,
spokes pizzicato to the untuned fork the wheel turns true.
The many minarets of courtyards crowning each shack of a sonorous contraption,

not music but thrumming of tantruming on string taut keyboard floors,
each visitor pouring words, syllables, small tunes through the ear of a funnel
dilating echo chamber of air in sound wisps
you can swivel in a chair turning your very motion to the fluttering of a flute
and should you need a deeper rest unfold a Murphy bed
a music box itself with a soft and slow organ melody
a place of dreams in little rhythmic slats under your back

and pulses from your heart a gyroscopic equilibrium
a gong calipered inside a coat hanger
a sliver moon a hand behind its face brushes.
On Piety Street, a white wedding dress canopy
orb of a gauze chapel with mirrors and small bells, dried gourds maracas
you can all shake to the bridesmaids’ ululations
a small table a copper top a dreidel spins on a dirge through curling groves
coiling stairs around a mast
each step sounds an organ pipe
a dancer climbing to the sky
the tallest view holds a C chord of new chant over the musical shanty.