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10. Open Your Eyes

September 4th 2020

Squelching beneath the underground

Through a darkness with many meanings

Leaning up against a new sense of adventure, reawakened

A place to be one with nature

Deep in the fracture of a broken city

Known as New Orleans

I rinse away a stagnation

Born from staying in and twiddling my thumbs

My tribe and I

Subject to this very same strange ride

Still, we make time for curiosity and fun

A fearless kind flight

Instead of waiting around on the world to finally open back up

Instead of just sitting here and waiting to die

We crawl beneath broken bridges

Scampering across military ships

Casting shadows upon our former selves, reinvented

Searching for signs and secrets

Some kind of washed up missile-styled relic

Forgotten ships

Take to their final resting place

Like an old dog with no new tricks

And I walk through this maze of life

Tracing my fingers against fractured columns


Water logged and rotting

In their effervescent beauty

Ceilings have caved in

Far too broken to ever return to what they were before

I feel the cry of my own lone wolf

Howling out into the darkness

Or perhaps that was just a whimper

As a lone beaver pays tribute to my small discovery

Then disappears back into its dark waters without a trace

For we are all a different kind of animal

Here in this uncovered place

As my boots squelch full of mud and water

I look down and pay witness

To transparent plants

That are, like somebody’s daughter, just trying to grow amidst the darkness

A sought after sense of stability

Whilst being moved around by the constant tides

Barely able to take root

Given just enough light to barely survive

And I can relate to their quiet struggle

For I too am just trying to grow out here

Amidst the powerful currents, the graffiti & rubble.

We eventually make our way inside of an old military base

That’s been left, abandoned without care

Graffiti everywhere

Break and Enter

Have no fear

For I make my own story here

And it will be worthy of sharing

Room by room

We infiltrate

Passing through the empty spaces of what once was

Offices, desks, chalk boards with chalk still pressed upon their faces

Discarded clothes, fractured windowsills

Murmuring signs of life in inconspicuous corners

The entire building is but a ghost

We make our way to the rooftop

Climbing ten floors high

And with an insatiable appetite

I scale the rusty water tank

Ascending to the highest of the heights

My heart thumping, adrenaline pumping

The city beneath me, gently unfolding

And I feel God damn alive.

We hang

We climb

We document and read

Singing into the acoustics of a time forgotten water tower

The power of the Louisianan sun browns our skins

The warm breeze envelopes me as I exhale

The city; growing and sprawling


‘Open Your Eyes’

And, lit as fuck, I open up

And let my soft slumber go

Whispers of needles burned in the fire awhile ago

Swore an oath to leave it all behind him forever

The shadows of our former selves stand back to back

And, leaving behind our sleeping ghosts,

We simply let it all go

For up there on that water tower

At the highest of the heights

My tribe and I

Become the royalty that we have always known ourselves to be

Two Kings & a Queen

And only this city, entrusted with the whispers our former stories,

Knows of our secrets

As well as our possibilities

And whether the world will ever resume a sense of normality or not

Whether the mud will ever come out of our shoes

Or whether we must start from scratch or buy anew

Whether the world be flat or be it round

Full of whites or blacks

Silences or sounds

I still count my blessings for my placement here

And, with eyes wide open

I pay tribute to the jewels within it that I have found.

April Lee Fields

Photography by April Lee Fields

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