As a share for #NationalPoetryMonth, I figured I’d highlight a #poem from Playing Mad. This was, not typical for me, a fictional character sketch.  I imagined an old-time voodoo man from New Orleans, kind of pictured Dr. Facilier from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.


Fiddlesticks is a much more sinister version of my character Francois Prevost from Hexametyr.  Though, Francois remains a bit of a mystery. Perhaps if I ever get around to writing book V …

Fuddy-Duddy Fiddlesticks

for Jonny Five



The old Cajun wore a fedora


and a suitcoat over a v-neck tee


slacks with suspenders


loud argyle socks


and scuffed-up wingtips.


He was browned by the sun, and his mama.


He was halfrican with knappy hair


carried a harmonica in his jacket


and a bandana stuffed in his back pocket.


He drank no water, but sweat away bourbon,


Louisiana swelt, smelt like jambalaya.




Clop clip puck.


Clop clip puck.


His cane was style and utility,


the hoodlum boys called him Limpy.


But he ain’t never heard them sassings,


his tone was molasses.


Baritone saxophone


smooth like candied berries


sautéed in brown sugar over an old flame.




Clop clip puck.


Clop clip puck.


Like stalking goat hooves,


his balking days were done.


Throwing bones from a bowl


jazzy gaping tooths that clipped the tip


of home-rolled cigars.


Puff puff like a slow-rolling choo choo


Chaaaah, he says slumping into a rocker.


Front porch living, piping on his jaw harp,


bluesing away humid afternoons.




He knows that old magick


the one that Desiree loved.


It was music, man


it was the bayou in the backroom.


Under mossy cypress canopies,


Louisiana is his darling, through and through.


Missed her cooking most,


but used that magick harp


to rapture and draw them near.


Tea and bourbon, and lemon rinds


cool in a punchbowl, serve themselves


until the sweet girls make the lightpost papers.




But, no one suspect


old Fuddy-Duddy Fiddlesticks


could ever do what he do.