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Alison Pelegrin

Posted by admin on December 26, 2011


Alison Pelegrin’s most recent collection of poems is Big Muddy River of Stars (U. Akron, 2007). Her poems have appeared in PoetryPloughshares, and the Southern Review, and she is the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.



The Day the Music Stopped


New Orleans, August 29, 2007

No jazz today. Word hurries down Treme,

Down sidewalks and porches — at Armstrong Park

The band set out, and they refuse to play.


No dirge. Rolling slow, the meter maid way,  

Pal’s Pink Suit Steppers and the Carnival Sharks

Won’t jazz today. Word hurries down Treme —


A brass band coming, their groove astray, 

Shoe shine, trumpet shine, but no ‘Closer Walk.’

They hold their instruments and do not play. 


Mock funeral one year ago today —

Pine box for Katrina cut loose to the dark,

Then Dixieland jazz in the streets of Treme.


This year we can’t make the blues go away.

We’ve been down so long that music feels like work.

Black sash for the marshal — we can’t play. 


Word hurries down Treme. No jazz today. 

We can’t lift our eyes from the water mark. 

We’re calling, Lord, who hardly ever pray.

The band set out, and they refused to play.


From Volume IV, Issue 1, 2009.