Mardi Gras, 2 poems

FAT TUESDAY (written about 10 years ago and emailed to Mr. Codrescu in response to an NPR interview)

(For Andre Codrescu)

You said
     when you talk about
          New Orleans at Mardi Gras
You always
     feel like you’re
          selling the whole thing
Short because
     you’re forgetting the best parts
          but you could also say that about
Life –
     everywhere you look it’s
          Fat Tuesday
And even that
     would be selling the whole thing
          short.

ASH WEDNESDAY (first appeared in qarrtsiluni by the name Twice Burned, with audio link as well)

Last night I was burned twice,
once by one who cares too little
and once by one who cares too much.
Some nights I would light matches to stay warm,
if only someone would cup two hands
around mine to block the wind.
But I am dry tinder, and fire can consume
like the Ganges crematorium at Varanasi.
Did you know that when the monk
Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire in Saigon
to protest the persecution of Buddhists,
he was re-cremated after his death
but his heart, twice burned, remained intact?

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About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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18 Responses to Mardi Gras, 2 poems

  1. bluehourmagazine says:

    Mo here, did you hear back from NPR on that poem?

  2. I have been thinking of that monk a lot lately. Thinking that I need to write something.
    This hits close to home.
    Thank you for this.

  3. Ray Sharp says:

    you are welcome, Johnny. feel free to link back to here, too, if you post something related

  4. Tony says:

    Strong writing – and the recognition that even at our best, our descriptions of events, life, everything don’t really do justice to the reality.

  5. brian miller says:

    Some nights I would light matches to stay warm,
    if only someone would cup two hands
    around mine to block the wind.
    But I am dry tinder, and fire can consume…dang found that section to be so evocative….and the burning…the first, smiles..i have vague impressions left of my time down there…

  6. claudia says:

    very cool..esp. love the ash wednesday…in basel over here the carnival just starts next monday…Thích Quảng Đức being re-cremated after his death.. the heart staying intact..love this

  7. Some day I’d like to do Mardi Gras in New Orleans! Until then, your poems will have to suffice. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Zouxzoux says:

    Ray, how did I not know you lived in NOLA? We should meet for coffee one day.

  9. lucychili says:

    both poems feeling fire and resilience.

  10. warmginger says:

    I love that they are so different, but both very much you.

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