Lisa Marie Basile – Four Poems


He walked in to our barn,
death with a Louisiana

We hollered, the biscuits fell
and I got on my knees to get them. The butter
stuck up in my fingernails, and when he walked
over, the whole place froze. He licked

my fingertips, and
the biggest sadness I had ever felt
came when his nice baby blue suit
brushed up against me.


For Cooch

This is the crux of the day,
the Sweet blood of New Orleans
mopped into the

They called him Cooch,
said only his white teeth were seen
riding the evening jazz.
The White man said he needed God.

He didn’t hear because he was
fast asleep in the hornets nest right
on the wooden steps of the Mississippi.

He stunk, pissed himself,
and was looked at
poetically by
rich travelers who called him
‘the real French Quarter,’

“Well, I guess only the Blacks can play Jazz.”

This is the crux of the day,
that on the gentle Mississippi,
we are condemning
the blood of a city unseen.


Dark Louisiana

The summer here is
blood under scabs,
waiting for the bandages of humanity
to come again and cover the perils.

The heat is infected, and
men run around like
fools, pulling devils from their chests.

A brown sky sweeps over, and we
are sweating our sins in bloody mary madness.

In a fever the storm is over,
We huddle, lost like
wars of things we never
held in our hands.


Ursuline Convent

Everyone knows
that the Sisters of Ursula
in the Old Ursuline Convent
went shrieking through the attic
when the vampires found them.

They got off the boats from France,
and stalked their holy throats,
painting the Mississippi Valley in
a nice red way.

I can still hear them screaming
on Chartres, swinging open
the shutters.