I'm thinking of you today, Jane Lowe.
Lots to remember as I stop to think of you;
Your dirt-floored shanty nestled under
That Claiborne Street overpass right downtown
New Orleans--folks driving by, but never seeing your truth.
Been now nearly thirty years since you made your rounds in that
Wild and wonderful city of light and song and fear,
Coming by my place in the mix to read my palm, tell my fortune
And share a story to draw down a tear and a laugh or two--
Always asking about my babies.
I remember your dirty face, your toothless, grinning mouth;
Your black and gray hair pulled back tight in a greasy knot,
All you owned--a treasure trove--piled high on your grocery cart;
And you, the most optimistic person I've ever known,
Who had so much pain and little else to show, or so it seemed at first.
At times you worked me for a buck or two,
A meal, a bit of cash for the bus, or
A bottle that I'm sure consoled you in the
Darkness of your lonely nights and
Very hard days on those stressful, amazing, wonderful streets.
You were my church, truth be known, smelly though it surely was
And full of frustration and gaping need; but I never could relate much to the holy folks come into town from elsewhere
To make their bucks and secure their futures, and pay my salary
But you just coming by to make sure I was okay, and to help yourself.
Cheap assurance you sure provided,
No doubt in my mind your wisdom about life was more than sound;
Your needs so simple, your laughter so real, old, homeless woman, I know you were an angel, sure enough,
Come down to those streets for me.