A Jazz Bar Surprise In Chiang Mai

I have come to the Jazz Bar on

the north side of the still-burning moat,

like any other night when like an arrow

headed for the target my heart yearns to

have audience with a quartet, and yet,

no one is here.

 

How can this be?

 

I know today’s Friday–

if it’s not, then I am not

a human with a name!

 

I walk in cautiously, as though

a thief

in a museum

with security alarms.

 

A saxophone leans

on a sheet note stand,

shiny and straitjacketed

in silence.

 

Who has left the lights on,

and why did they leave?

 

I break the stillness, daring

to pluck the C-string of a brooding

bass whose deep throb

rises

through the room

like a mushroom cloud.

 

The microphone is on.

 

Suddenly, as though by the nudge

of a switch, I hear a descending trickle

of conversation behind me, the cheeful

clink of drunken friends’ glasses.

I wheel around, my soul numb fire.

 

An audience is there, waiting for me to begin.