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Three Poems by Arthur Pfister aka Professor Arturo


-went into a record store
(if they’re still called dat)
and asked if there were any
Hugh Masekela
in stock…

and the dreadlocked salesperson
with the “I LOVE AFRICA” T-shirt
and the
red-black-green beads ‘round his neck
didn’t know
who I was

Arthur Pfister aka Professor Arturo
June 27, 2012
© All Rights Reserved

(to Langston Hughes)

If you can dig it
    you can dig it
If you cain’t
    you cain’t…

‘Cause if you with it
       you is with it

If you ain’t

    you ain’t

Arthur Pfister aka Professor Arturo
July 2012 Stamford, CT

(September 10, 1801 – June 16, 1881)

Some say she came from heaven (some say from down below)
but I’ma give the four eleven ‘bout Marie Laveau…

From Baton Rouge to Baltimore they all knew her name
From the swamps to the boardrooms they whisper her fame

She burned exotic incense, wore the prettiest pearls
She was the envy of the women and the idol of girls

Her head was wrapped in scarlet; her lips were like red wine
Her eyes outshined the stars ‘cause she was so fine 

She was sweet like cherry chocolates; they say she tasted like candy
and had skin like golden velvet that weakened many a dandy  

She knew so many secrets that put the match to the flame
and had a beauty so rare -- put Cleopatra to shame

She made ‘Lisbeth look like Twiggy and Marilyn look like Moe
Such a dark, comely beauty was Marie Laveau…

She was a pure pound o’ flesh (not one wasted ounce)
She was big where it mattered (and small where it counts)

The gentlemen would smile and the ladies would frown
when that fine, brown woman chanced to be around

When she walked down the street every male head would turn
Girlfriends and wives would do a sizzlin’ burn

She’d make a strong man weak, a wise man dumb
-make a quick man slow, make a goin’ man come

She was exotic, hypnotic, an intoxicating beauty
She took Jean Lafitte’s big barrel o’ booty

She wrote books with a cat named Lemony Snicket
waited in the midnight hour with the Wicked Pickett

She knew Pussycat Nell, the harlot from hell 
(You might notta met her, but you’d know the smell)

She knew Frisco Jenny and Way Out Willy,
Cherokee Bill, and a kid named Billy

She knew Typhoid Mary and Sioux City Sue, Pussy Galore and Cat Ballou,
   Boston Blackie and Alvarez Kelly, Sugarmouth Sam and a Bly named “Nelly”

She was a right queenly woman and was impeccably clean
She was a real fancy woman -- make a old man dream

make a young man holler -- make a sad man laugh
She took the Parish Sheriffs rod (and his deputy’s staff)

The mens all loved her and they’d spend every dime
They’d go away broke (but they’d come every time)

She knew Amelia Bedilia and Montana Belle
-kissed old Slim Greer on his way down to hell

She was in the kitchen with Dinah, in the Gulf with Katrina
The mens would woo her and wine her whenever they seen her

She knew Rattlesnake Dick and Foo Manchu,
   Big Harold Parker and Mr. Magoo

She was a real fine dresser (wasn’t no slob)
She’d open the bedroom door and turn that knob

She made the Thin Man fat, the Tall Man short
She made the vejjitibble man give up his cart

She was sassy and spicy (like yo’ momma’ dirty rice)
She’d take the flame outa fire and put yo’ soul on ice

She knew Filthy Mcnasty and Iron Chest Charlie
She cut rugs with Astaire, made music with Marley

She danced by the waters with the spirits and saints
with such pleasure and passion (weren’t no complaints

On St. John’s Eve she’d strut and sway all night
And in Congo Square she would shake up a sight

Dynamite Dick was her very best friend
She might even squeeze a cherry every now and then

She’d visit Parish Prison and bring the inmates some cookin’
They’d start up a riot (she was so good-lookin’)

They’d didn’t mess with her ‘cause she was the boss
and so many of them wanted to just sample her sauce

She fixed that red gravy that made the mens love her
It took 69 nights for them to recover

Her potions and tonics would heal anything --
run away the winter and bring back the spring
She was the queen of New Orleans (both slave and free)
and lauded by all despite the pedigree

She’d conjure up memories from way ‘cross the seas
cure the hottest fever with a cool, calming  breeze

She tried to end executions in the Congo Square
-didn’t think it was right to do such a thing there

She knew rich folks’ secrets from all over town
When the lies would arise she’d just shoot ‘em down

She knew who shot the La-La and who killa the chief
and who snatched the fruit from the mespileaf

St. Louis # 1 is where she now sleeps
But they say from the grave her soul often creeps

So when folks in New Orleans tell of those long ago
they still speak the legend of Marie Laveau…

Arthur Pfister aka Professor ARTURO
Sunday, August 19, 2012 10:47 PM
© 2012 All Rights Reserved

Stamford, CT

Arthur Pfister, a poet, fiction writer, Spoken Word artist, and educator, is a New Orleans native. He relocated to be near friends and family after Katrina and is currently an Instructor of English at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, CT.