I spend some time in New Orleans this year. Outside of the Bay Area and Brooklyn, it is the only place that I have felt turn into home around me. It is a thrilling experience to feel yourself turn into a city. My partner, who is in law school, was doing an internship with the New Orleans public defenders office (because she loves people, because she loves Black people, and because she knows that putting them in prison is the most inhuman practice we have). While visiting her in New Orleans, she introduced me to her wonderful friends Jake and Jacqui. New Orleans wore Jake and Jacqui like a smile, and they moved through the city like a Thelonious Monk improvisation across a piano; both of them bopping through the city, hitting all the most beautiful notes.
Jacqui was killed suddenly this year. Lightening struck at a music festival. And she was killed. It’s hard to be mad at lightening. It doesn’t listen well. Here is a poem I wrote; for Jake and Jacqui, and New Orleans, and my partner, and maybe even a heads up for the sky and lightening, who have no idea what they are in for now that they have Jacqui on their hands.