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
in a museum
with security alarms.
A saxophone leans
on a sheet note stand,
shiny and straitjacketed
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
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.