OLN #182

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub.  I couldn’t resist posting this spooky haibun I wrote a couple of years ago….Marie Leveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans during the 1830s – 1850s.  A tignon is a scarf women of color had to wear over their hair in public.  Some of the ladies worked the various scarves into confections or topped with standard stylish millinery.  A loa is a spirit of the voodoo gods. Offerings are often given to thank the loas for favors or to ask for one.  Offerings frequently include sweets, coins, rum, cigars, pound cake.  I cheated and did a double haiku. http://dversepoets.com/2016/10/20/open-link-night-182/

Graveyard Dust
In the cemetery St. Louis in Nawlins I wandered at night.Under a summer sky the cemetery reeked as only a cemetery in Nawlins can reek In hot wet summer. Resurrection ferns sprouted from the crumbling soft bricks and a fresh tomb
lurked, bright white in the full moon. Wreaths of flowers -some fresh and Others faded decorated the various tombs. I wandered seeking the tomb of the one, the one with the tignon of flame twisted into seven points. Other tombs showed signs of dirt being scraped from beside – graveyard dust – or plates Of pound cake, coins, the smell of rum and tafia spilled and unsmoked cigars, offerings laid out. The voodoos had been busy this past full moon,  seeking the spirits of the loas. A footstep behind me…I turned and my tongue clove to the roof of my mouth. The hair prickled on my arms and at the nape of my neck. In the moonlight, in the shadows stood she of the seven pointed tignon with her giant king snake coiled about her. In a voice like frost killed weeds and granite she asked,  What seek ye here Child? And reached out to me. I awoke with a start…The smell of the cemetery, the moist dirt,  the smell of burned rum in my nose; the bottom of my feet coated with graveyard dust and cut from the broken bricks  along the path.

under the moonlight
stood she of the flame pointed
tignon – Marie Laveau

seeking I found her
and the night buzzed with the sound
of cicadas

public domain photo St. Louis Cemetaery No. 1

public domain photo St. Louis Cemetaery No. 1

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mist twine
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 17:57:03

    Wow. This is gorgeous: “Resurrection ferns sprouted from the crumbling soft bricks”

    Also this: “the one with the tignon of flame twisted into seven points”

    And these:

    “plates Of pound cake, coins, the smell of rum and tafia”

    “In the moonlight, in the shadows stood she of the seven pointed tignon with her giant king snake coiled about her. In a voice like frost killed weeds and granite she asked”

    “the smell of burned rum in my nose”

    OMG, I know this story! I love her! Man, did you see that season of American Horror Story? Coven … Loved it. I’m so pleased that you posted this. 🙂

    Stop taking your writing break already, and come back. Keeping the words inside will only make you sick. You know that.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 20, 2016 @ 18:07:43

      Thank you for your kind words. No, I never watched AHS in anty of the seasons but i cheffed in NOLA for several years and did much research on NOLA and in particular, the gens du coleur or, free persons of color whose lives were so entwined with the Creole wgite population. I am taking a hiatus duee to bringing my mother home from TN and getting things ready to care for her. She is fragile and has Alzheimers plus I caretake my husband as well although his ALS seems t be in remissuon now. So I am very busy at this point. I anticipate being back full time in November. Again, thank you for yourvencouraging and kindness. This is Shawna, isn’t it?

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO

      Reply

  2. mist twine
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 18:58:44

    Yes ma’am. It’s me. 🙂

    I’m so sorry about your mommy and hubs. You can email me if you ever want to talk. We have some things in common.

    Reply

  3. skyraftwanderer
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 19:32:21

    Beautiful writing.

    Reply

  4. Grace
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 19:45:12

    I had goosebumps reading this at the end ~ Very well done with the sensory details at the cemetary and love that sound of the cicadas ~ A double haiku is fine with me ~

    Reply

  5. Brian
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 19:51:39

    Very spooky.

    Reply

  6. ladynyo
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 21:42:31

    Yes! You captured well the atmosphere of that graveyard! I was in NO right before Katrina. I loved it. The creole and the different cultures down there were fascinating. There were times I didn’t think I was in the US. The cemeteries are spooky and gorgeous in a unworldly way. My husband was one who constructed the set at the docks for “Interview with the Vampire” and this stay went on for about 5 months. I had time, lots of time to explore NO. You got the graveyards perfectly….and the general atmosphere there. Love the double haiku.

    More please…..I love this kind of spooky writin’.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 20, 2016 @ 22:05:03

      Thank you! Wow, Interview with the vampire set…i remember that set well. He did a great job. I cheffed down in NOLA forvseveral years and had the great pleasure of researching extensively abiut the history of NOLA, the bayous, the Barrataria..and actually, the system of law is the Naooleonic code and after all tgese years, they still aegue about Orleanists, vs. Monarchists, vs. American “animals” and then you have the Arcadians thrown in for goid measure. The graveyards are one of thevreadons you cannot force me toneat crawfis…from anywhere. I cooked with em but I made damn sure I purged them!

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO

      Reply

  7. thotpurge
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 21:55:44

    Spooky indeed 🙂

    Reply

  8. Victoria C. Slotto
    Oct 20, 2016 @ 23:30:11

    So perfect for late October with a fascinating didactic twist to this superb haibun. I like how you pulled in the cicadas in the 2nd haiku.

    Reply

  9. Bodhirose
    Oct 21, 2016 @ 00:08:38

    Nawlins…love how you wrote that and that’s exactly how it sounds by the natives. Also, I’ve read of the many mysteries of voodoo, the walking dead and the practitioners of “magic.” Excellent spooky tale, Toni!

    Reply

  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Oct 21, 2016 @ 00:39:02

    What a great sensory graveyard story. You can really feel the graveyard with its scents and sounds – somehow I could not understand why you seek the graves at night, but a dream makes sense..

    Reply

  11. rosemawrites
    Oct 21, 2016 @ 01:47:51

    yes, sensory is indeed the best word for this epic poem, Toni. This gave me goosies!!!

    Reply

  12. petrujviljoen
    Oct 21, 2016 @ 05:00:15

    Toni, I hope you don’t mind- I was too scared to read the whole thing through but loved the haiku at the end. These things upset me terribly!

    Reply

  13. Bryan Ens
    Oct 21, 2016 @ 08:42:24

    could almost hear a “Nawlins” accent as I read this. Great story telling!

    Reply

  14. Walter J. Wojtanik
    Oct 21, 2016 @ 12:44:26

    Spooky good read here, Toni! Love the macabre spine of this!

    Reply

  15. Hank Pelaez (@kaykuala)
    Oct 21, 2016 @ 21:06:15

    and the night buzzed
    with the sound of cicadas

    So much fun when we get what we want!

    Hank

    Reply

  16. lynn__
    Oct 22, 2016 @ 04:36:52

    Definitely spooky, Toni! Hope the move goes well for your mom.

    Reply

  17. Uttley
    Oct 22, 2016 @ 15:29:12

    Haibun is such a robust form. And this one is quite well done. Transported!

    Reply

  18. lillian
    Oct 24, 2016 @ 14:09:11

    I am sooooo late to read…apologies! Trying to get ready for this huge trip (we leave tomorrow).
    Well this is an amazing habit — could be a halloween movie, I think. So spooky, scary…scene described so well. Wow! ONE of my favorite lines “In a voice like frost killed weeds and granite.” So in keeping with the tone of the entire habun.
    Will be thinking of you with your mom, Toni. Prayers for an uneventful, calm move.

    Reply

  19. GP Cox
    Oct 30, 2016 @ 05:33:26

    Reply

  20. moorezart
    Nov 06, 2016 @ 14:07:38

    Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

    Reply

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