MOTH PRAYERS

Their house was a gray-green shotgun on brick piers with a poured concrete stoop. Momma was working late, but he could smell something good. Grams must have cooked. He could hear through the screen window her loudly saying her evening rosary in the living room. Softly he parked his bike out back by the kitchen. The kitchen screen door was covered with little white moths drawn to the light. He quietly opened the door. Moths flew in, circling the overhead light.

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Francis Pavy
AUGUST 16, 1977

It was the dog days of summer — highs in the upper 90s, the humidity made the air thick, and life was moving slower than Bayou Vermillion. I was a twenty-something vegan, driving a VW van, and a practicing yogi. I lived in the hip part of town, the St. Streets, at 929 Azalea.  I was enjoying cannabis daily and putting in motion the build-out of a commune in Leonville with friends. My devout Catholic parents thought they had lost me and prayed the rosary every day to “get me back.” It was all so apropos for a Southern artist in the 60s.

If Annamae and Robert were worried about my hippiness, it’s good they didn’t meet my neighbors. Across the street lived a gang of bikers members of the Iron Knights MC. To their left lived a peeping-tom known in the neighborhood as Peep — a nasty, sweaty, sleuth who didn’t like me much, and I wasn’t trying hard to be his friend. The bikers on the other hand were very friendly. They named me Frank. I guess it was a better fit for their hyper-masculine, badass persona. Phil, Don Ray, Jon and Frilo.

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Francis Pavy