Stolen Moments – New Orleans

Adam’s Note: In 1995, I packed everything I owned into an old Datsun and moved to New Orleans. Halfway there, my car broke down and I sold it and almost all my worldly possessions for fifty bucks, then hopped on a Greyhound and finished my trip. For two weeks, I live homeless and hungry on the streets of NOLA. I was enamoured by a city I’d never been to, in love with the sounds and sites of January in the Big Easy. However, after getting jumped a few times and not being able to find a job or a home in the first week, I tried to leave. Another week later, my brother bought a bus ticket for me and I left back to Omaha. I wrote this poem shortly after.

“Testing, testing, one-two, one-two. Check, check.”

stolen moments packing bags
driven harder into nights darker
leaving

broken down with a wrecked engine
restless sleep filled with sold memories
busing through the South
(freedom riding lives again!)

Memphis and airport blues and Sun Studio
busing through the South
(freedom lives again!)
New Orleans on a Saturday night
glowing bus stations, leaving, leaving
left.

a Dumpster as a bunker from my new realities
homeless
stolen from what set me free
(freedom left again)

I rode on trolleys
slept on city buses
talked to myself and if I hadn’t known better
I might’ve died like everyone else
testing God against a standard that couldn’t be applied
testing God with a vision that there was another way
could’ve tried
could’ve cried
leaving or left?

I couldn’t leave

wrestling, fighting, rocking in my sleep
talking, walking, I sold everything cheap
wanting, waiting, I cried
no job, no home, no respite in site
Begged and pleaded
Prayed and screamed
Sang, ate, talked, tried and left

bus lines that dragged chains through
ghost lands, heartlands, Ozarks, midlands, homelands
home

I’m going home

there I was. I had tested God, and I lost.

Or not?

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