This is a quiet place
Dark oaks line narrow streets
Canopies of low branches and moss
Ancient creaking streetcars scare away sleeping pigeons

This is cacophony
Sky scrapers, fanned with searchlights
Blaring speakers deafen passersby
Neon casinos and strip clubs turn night into day

Here is a holy place of high steeple churches
Long lines of the faithful
SundayGotomeeting dresses & starched white shirts
Miles of cemeteries filled with pious concrete memorials

Here is the wildest of party spots; Bacchus’ back yard
Elaborate parade costumes
Bars with dancers who are costume free
Liquor that flows as freely as the river

Water and untamed wildlife surround her
Contradictions define her
Neither time nor disaster can change her

title from mills-merci