Reading Julia Kristeva and other works by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.


Jerry W. Ward, Jr., Professor of English at Dillard University in New Orleans, is the author of THE KATRINA PAPERS: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery (University of New Orleans Press, 2008).


An Ordinary Meal


Table the issue

Coffee cups
Coffee the linen

Alphabetize the soup

Pork chops
Pig out on napkins

Lends gravity to rice

Red beans
Volunteer for suicide missions


Lady Day

Somewhere there was boom
Day be-bop boom
Slipping under
Day do-wah boom
Swinging under
Day Max Roach boom
Eyes ablaze
To bandage wounds in a sad café.


Poem 65

"Old age superbly rising! Ineffable grace of dying days!"
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

That year love lassoed us
Nailed us to a burning tree.

A trillion stars assumed our minds
Fed us honey and pungent gasoline
In a myth-drenched season

And want of reason turned us a trope.

In those days a mosquito sang a fatal son
So wrong we cracked bones on a killing floor.

Now, in the light of the night
Red magnolias blow and children laugh outright.

We embrace sanguine memories
Against the fears watered by our fears.

Old age and scuppernong have learned us
Charity for the resurrecting past

Tolerance for the blue holes of blessings
Grown ineffable in our eyes and ears.


Reading Julia Kristeva

Critics belabor the art,
So Dien Cai Dau, so French are they,
Scrambling technobabble into scholarship,
Sowing bad seed in a star.

They resemble czars
So bedazzled by woman's white ink
They impress their purple hearts
To drip into herstory.