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  • Tonight, the cats are eating their way through brick dust to make it out onto the warm roof. As usual, all they want to do is chase blindworms, hoping to bring me the bounty of some poor creature' s limp and scaly body. To cool down, I ride my bicycle through the narrow streets of the Quarter and daydream, weaving in and out between horse drawn carriages full of ghosts and lizards in tuxedos. The cars along Royal Street have lost their engines and have become claustrophobic shelters for homeless fortune tellers, banjo players and mimes. The balconies are fern and wrought iron beautiful and a great place to spend the late nights of summer.

    Most days are like most others here. The birds always join together in the Square for their manic choir rehearsal at dusk; the last moments of daylight hold them to each other, reminding me of the oyster dredgers who met most nights at the bar for one last beer before heading home to their families and black bread dinners. I miss these men. Their hands were always filthy and their eyes were dark from lack of sleep, but they were happy, having no inextinguishable problems.

    I have no balcony, but I still sit on my roof and watch the light change over the river at dusk, as hours pass slowly like the tugboats heading out of Chalmette. The faces of these operators, rugged maps in any port town, are within sight of my smoldering nest. And after a few sips of Pernod, I think about flying out to one of the boats what the river has taught them.

    I eventually crawl back into my loft, through the window, to sleep on the futon where Penny and I would make love most afternoons, summer, fall, winter, spring, before having iced coffee and studying by a window facing the convent. Having a heart full of memories is both a library and a tomb. I remember eating licorice ice cream in Saint Mark’s Square; the quiet lakes outside of Berlin where couples sunbathed in between patches of shade and drank wheat beer; Prague where a 200 year old song brought me to tears within seconds.
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