Bourbon Street at 6am

the air is thick
even at this early hour
humidity engulfs
smells from the night before
and the night before and the night before
ooze from the buildings and street
beer, sweat, bleach
slap you in the face
tingle your nostrils
stragglers from last night
drunk revelers
city workers spray the street clean
for tonight's show
i’ve walked this street
many times
years ago
at dawn
on my way to work
accompanied by prostitutes
then as now
bourbon street
at 6am
you are different
but very much the same