Thursday, May 31, 2012


You strike a match against a jagged wall, bent to the night air for music. A bluesy sax sucks you down. The voice says drop it and don’t turn around. You are Orpheus, Marlowe or Spade. It’s a trap, like life, and you know it but that’s your middle name. There’s no return now. You’ve come this far. Is that a zither or the chambers of your heart skipping a strum? The plot is a knot, maybe a noose you’ve got a nose for. Follow the Spanish guitar, these stains, those steps, that sedan and step on it. Even without a history you know too much. You can’t be bought and love’s not the answer. You don’t trust soft with life so hard boiled. What was that? Sarah scatting Duke or midnight chimes? The heat’s on. This time it’s for keeps. Even at noon it’s shadows and alleys, today’s paper below the crease. Slow pan to open window with curtains, ashtray, a speckled banana and a ticket to a locker. You’re a loser in an uneven world, like the goon behind the racing final, behind the shades, behind the wheel dumping you off in the middle of nowhere, an inner map of hilly dunes. You claw your way to a phone booth, call Charlie who’s got nothing to his name but moxie and owes you one. Or Trixie, that waitress in your all-night haunt who never asks questions. She patches your wounds and gets you back up….on your feet too. Charlie says to lay low but there’s still the keyless locker, the neon sign with every letter out but one, the envelop you mailed to yourself and that tenor sax wailing from the lighthouse at the end of the pier. What’s unasked will stay unanswered. Hoagy is playing Honky-Tonk, cigarette smoke swirls into a trench coat embracing a blonde in stilettos, sizzling, forbidden. Dissolve.

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