Plaisance means “Pleasure” (Martha & Malvin Valmont in Plaisance, LA circa 1950)

Martha & Malvin Valmont (Plaisance, LA circa 1950)

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Plaisance is French for “Pleasure”, and it has been my pleasure lately, surveying a map of my maternal great grandparents’ home of St. Landry Parish, the birthplace of Zydeco, where I spent a lot of summers and holidays. Since childhood, I’ve had a fascination with names of events, places, and roads there, like Yambilee, Tony Chachere’s Creole Foods, and Westwego…so maybe it’s time to write an entire series of stories, prose, and poems based on five senses of memories from childhood and early adulthood in Louisiana.

Sometimes I write under the pseudonym Renée Valmont, so I may use the name for the potential creative writing project. The working title: Mon Plaisance/My Pleasure.

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For The Birds (Two Poems)

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Bird Calls (or The Life of Birds in East Texas)

An unseen bird attempts to be heard

over the whir-chunk-clamor

of machinery digging up dirt

on a Sunday before noon.

Not many cars drive down the nearby road,

past the partially cleared forest

that frames a farm house covered

in a final vinyl after years of peeling paint.

A ten-year-old girl is indoors,

listening to the cacophonous music,

after faking an illness

to escape another sermon that always seems to end

with a dove flying over a mythical man’s head.

Maybe the preacher likes birds, like her,

watches and listens to  them in the early morning

before the competing sound of progress

uproots more tress, digs up more ground below

in which will flow a human obsession

that burns up and disappears quicker than a passion,

while the calls of birds remain unanswered.

(October 2012, in support of the Tar Sands Blockade in East Texas. (Take action in your community and donate to the cause to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline @ http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/donate-3/. )

V-Formation (or The Life of Birds at Town Lake)

Music after the afternoon dream coos

in the trees, lofty wild parrots squawk,

aping human noises; mocking birds

chirp like false car alarms

in a new condo complex parking lot.

On a day of breezes, black birds fight

with broken glass as ducks float

on Town Lake, a slow picture show

before the storm of man-made rapture…

I’lll miss the green grass and man-made happy trails

to a nature landing, on the cool bank where two friends

sit silently, skipping stones and an unimportant destination.

There is no human v-formation.

(March 2012)

“Bird Calls” and “V-Formation” © 2012 by Danna Williams, a.k.a. Renée Valmont.