The girl is jazz, they say; soft to the touch
of note to ear, unresolving,
like rooms muted with blue and maroon lights
where one can taste the color
of C minor to f major seven, the gentle drawl
of piano keys painted against a hushed snare.
I smell the smoke in her voice,
see a maduro cigar drawing a line
between index and thumb,
and ride the chalked print of an ashed exhale
coasting across the room.
If only we could pass by the coal-splotched faces in the crowd,
the ruffled eyes and cheeks of yesterday’s future,
the way they sag their stares to press their past
past you, fathered failure yet another chord to listen to,
the paled Persephone-girl of blues hymns forgotten in the smoke.
I have the New Deal
I have the plan to rebuild these painted walls
were you washed away
into the scheduled progress of New America?
O expectant generation, has anxiety stolen your music,
has the snake of plastic deals and televised imaginations
writhed what was left of your brilliance, what was left
now buried in the bars of beautiful men, drunken
but still standing, bearded but faceless
except for the eyes that stare at her,
your once-love, your recompense of song
like a last psalm, a last breath of jazz
to cloud your exit sign, a fading red hint of glory.
Started on December 8th, 2005, finished on January 24th, 2006.