Bessie Smith and the Pretty Kitties

(Michael Ondaatje vs. alicia sometimes)

At first she refused to sing. But here she was. A long brown dress, with fringes. Fred Longshaw at the piano.

I slip by the mike, throw trashed words into laps.
my bass is chalk. the dearth of the carpet shows,
especially on the sad ones with grenade smiles.

She wore wings. They raised themselves with her arms each time she coaxed a phrase. The feathers black as the Steinway. You should have been there.

my words are mint. the cigarettes heckle for space.
I’m lost for stage wit. more porn dancing
in the corners and record men with old pens.
when the chorus comes I’m found out like a junkie.

When she returned she brought out the band. They were glad to have arrived on Earth, but they too had hoped for Havana. By midnight her voice was even better. She talked more between songs.

counting the heads. how many have the potential to love me?
too many shoes have been used as belts. this ending is pastry.
the feedback is messing with my encore.

We stood like sudden wheat.

I wait for the rider so I can give it to someone else

But she could not hear us.

this isn’t poetry

She could not see us

but it’s too wet for rock ‘n’ roll

Then she died again.

About

Poet. Author. Beard. Husband. Dad. Four chickens. Dog. Cat. I can sometimes fix my lawnmower.

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Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing, lines I wish I'd written, new poems, new ways to procrastinate

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