Thump (on Frenchmen Street)

(originally published in Connotation Press)

Real live trumpet cuts through my machinery—the glow of blue blood hiding in the secret room of a heart that (for now) is done playing dead; slide of trombone with a blonde girl behind it and all of us dancing because that’s what souls waking up have to do (which supposedly sets us apart from other animals); then this guitarist—his back as stiff as the unlit cigarette in his lips but his fingers loose as slack rubber bands; funk curling into all the faces in the joint like an invisible smoke; an old, leathery woman who bangs tambourine to thigh, every now and then she blows the kazoo strung on a necklace that dangles on her breasts. If we all had a way to make some sense of each other through hot air and metal strings, arrangements of sound, rhythm of a life half-remembered, oh how this train that pumps its warmth into orbit around the tireless dark might still have hope in the ungodly things we do to each other in it.