written by: roger turner
FORTUNES READ the sign displayed
TRINKETS, CHARMS, AND SPELLS
The store had not been here yesterday
shades of candles, books, and bell
Drapes were hung from side to side
The windows all were dark
Where was this place a day ago?
Just yards from Salem Park
Gothic kids sat on the stoop
Waiting, hoping to get in
Were they wishing for an audience
Or to confess a mortal sin
The door was red, its number black
The name of M. Laveau
Was etched into the window pane
It stood out like fresh, new snow
I thought "how kitsch", M. Laveau
New Orleans voodoo Queen
four hundred years since she had died
The best witch the world had seen
don't worry though, the address was
Not numbered 6 6 6
That would have been too hokey
Even my poems aren't that slick
My spider senses tingled
Just a line, not something real
But every now I get sensations
It's just something that I feel
I chose to pass the goth kids
pale, lethargic on the stoop
I figured something's coming
And I'm jumping through its hoop
Something wicked this way comes
I thought as I went in
But, I was greeted by a little man
About four-foot tall and thin
the bell rang loud behind me
As the door closed there behind
and as the light diminished
I was standing, slightly blind
The man just stood there staring
then he spoke, a tiny voice
"I know just why you've entered"
"Welcome, Billy Boyce"
I stood there, then I backstepped
How did this man know my name?
I knew it wasn't magic
It was just a parlour game
As my eyes became adjusted
I saw nothing in the room
Just this tiny little elfling
And some shelves, there in the gloom
I said, "I saw your sign, sir"
FORTUNES TOLD, and I'm intrigued
"Can you really tell my fortune?"
"Or are you playing on folks needs?"
"Not me sir, I'm just waiting"
"You see the mistress is not here"
"But, if some silver hits the counter"
"I am sure that she is near"
I thought again of M. Leveau
The Witch Queen, so long dead
But, the way he spoke about her
Seemed to fill me full of dread
I thought of charms and trinkets
But, the empty shelves displayed
Not a bell, a book, or candle
Just a scarf, just slightly frayed
"She can answer all your questions"
"Take the doubt away from life"
"She will open up your mind's door"
"She will remove all of your strife"
He could see that I was pensive
I turned and saw something was wrong
Where I knew that I had entered
The front doorway, now was gone
He bade me sit, prepare my thoughts
The Mistress would soon show
I would not have to ask my questions
He said The Mistress, just would know
I thought, Ok, I'll play along
someone's gone to lots of work
But, there was no rooms or doorways
For the Voodoo Queen to lurk
He lit a candle on the counter
Not the window, like Elton John
He told me turn with eyes closed
And when I finished, he was gone
The man left just the candle
Some small matchbook and a key
Then the wind blew out the tiny flame
And I knew, I had to see
So, I fumbled for the matchbook
Lit the candle once again
When the room was now alighted
I had that feeling once again
I knew I was not here alone
Someone else was here, but who
"would you like to take a seat dear sir?"
I just froze, what should I do?
I turned to face the speaker
A young lady, all alone
I just stood there, dumbstruck, staring
Like I had just been turned to stone
I sat as she requested,
In a chair, not there before
she said, "I'll tell your fortune"
"And if you want, I'll tell you more"
She said "you've many questions"
"I can read them in your mind"
"But, you must sit down and focus"
"This is going to take some time"
She spoke to me of angels,
both the bad kind and the good
She told me of my watchers
Some who lingered closely in the woods
She told me things no one would know
Unless they'd seen them done
I felt like I'd been torn apart
Shot with a bullet from no gun
She said, "I am the one you think"
"Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen"
I said "I don't believe you"
She said "can you explain, what you have seen?"
I told her no, she had me there
But, why had she picked me
She said, "you have it backwards sir"
"It was your choice to see me"
Paul Prudhomme, New Orleans
The Saints and Dr. John
Katrina and a second line
All the people who were gone
She said "those thought have called me"
"You are someone who believes"
"You will bring life to my city"
"Before you make your choice to leave"
"through task and deed you will bring back"
"New Orleans from the dead"
"You will breathe life to this wormy corpse"
"You will help her move ahead"
I told her "you're mistaken"
"I believe you've got it wrong"
She said "I know of what I'm talking"
"You were singing my favorite song"
The Witch Queen of New Orleans
laughed and said I'd know just when
to start the resurrection
When to build this town again
The wind came up, the room went dark
I was alone in here once more
I again lit the old candle
Saw the thin man and the door
He said "you saw the mistress?"
I told him, she was here
He said "I always miss her"
I said "she'll be back I'm sure, no fear"
He said "you got your answers?"
I told him that I was not sure
She told me things about me
That I did not know before
I said she laid a challenge
To bring NOLA from the brink
She gave me more questions than just answers
And I needed time to think
He said "I know...she works that way"
And then he bade me well
And the front door slightly opened
And I heard a tiny bell
I walked to it and turned around
I was the only one inside
Had I really seen this little man?
Was the Witch Queen just a lie?
I left the store, the goth kid was gone
I was on the street alone
Was this my imagination?
Or just a story I had known?
I walked a bit and turned to look
Down the street back to the store
FORTUNES TOLD was out of sight
M. LAVEAU was gone once more
I don't know how I'd bring it back
Would the Saints come marching in?
I think it's just up to the people
To breathe life in this town again
Blues and Louis Armstrong
The French Quarter, savoir-faire
Laissez les bons temps rouler
Listen to Marie Laveau and enjoy all that is there.