There was a wholeness in the family’s dysfunction:
An orchestrated coming together of disparate parts.
Everyone had a moment,
a role to play,
a need to pull genius from the air.
All cared about the music.
“Jazz was in their souls!”
Languid and earthy,
a Blues shout,
a gospel note,
a classical riff;
an alcoholic musing.
delivering pace to the flowing melody line,
moving in and out,
music swirling like a cat-fight in a smoke-filled box,
an ever-present stupor,
the curse of addiction woven deep in the fabric of family and New Orleans culture.
Glasses too full,
“...far too often.”
They all drank to that!
As a child I sat curious, listening,
gathered close to smell the harmony of voices,
feel the punctuated pounding of cigarette-stained piano keys,
keys scorched by blazing fingers,
leaping across the notes,
music competing with kitchen aromas:
(Too much pepper!),
too much cigarette smoke,
a bubbling cauldron,
angels and devils mixing,
a potent brew of humanity,
a family whole in their dysfunction.
The steps of time separate the memory from the event,
leaving only a dim light burning.