Jimmy Pappas

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Louisiana Lagniappe

A little something extra. Garlic beurre blanc
and meuniere sauce. Topped with jumbo lump
crabmeat and Hollandaise. Served with remoulade.

I purchased a hand-made necklace from a craftsman Artwork by Gene McCormick
after bartering a fair price. When I asked where
he was from, he told me, "Pakistan, Louisiana."

A high school principal spoke on the radio offering
a solution to school shootings: train teachers
to use ballistic shields to charge a would-be attacker.

A waiter served me pan-fried black drum fish while
I listened to a band with an African-American
drummer beating on a black tambour.

I discovered that homes are raised off the ground
with piles of bricks to allow a breeze to flow
underneath and act as a natural air conditioning.

I toured the old state house built to look
like a castle causing Mark Twain to pan it
as being "too much like Europe."

A large group of young men played beer pong
by tossing ping pong balls into beer
mugs. The only sport they ever played.

I learned that the American Market was not run
by "Americans." It was a family market run
by "the Armenians" who sold it to "the Vietnamese."

I ate roast turkey, crowned pork roast, sweet
potatoes and brown sugar, and a crayfish-stuffed
goose worthy of a Charles Dickens Christmas.

I heard "urban sprawl" redefined as all those
undeveloped areas of nature in the city
that could be sold and converted into cash.

At Pat O's Bar on Bourbon Street, the bouncer got called
away. I earned a free drink by taking over the job
and telling him upon his return, "I got your back, man."

I was the only man on the whole street wearing
Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, a long-sleeved white shirt,
and a tie covered with red poppies and purple irises.

I held a new-born baby in my arms as she
stared into multi-colored Christmas lights
that reflected off of her wide-open eyes.


Jimmy Pappas received an MA in English Literature from Rivier University after serving in Saigon, South Vietnam with the Palace Dog program teaching English to South Vietnamese soldiers. Jimmy's poems have been published in such journals as Atticus Review, Red River Review, Kentucky Review, Black Poppy Review, The Poets' Touchstone, and War, Literature and the Arts. He is a recent first prize winner of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire's National Contest.