Thursday, September 8, 2016


Before the Flood by Sherisse

She wore a long, black and white striped dress that hugged her body. My attention went to her hips, her belly. I thought it a bold choice. She sang for us on a Saturday evening in late August; it was still warm enough to sit outside. The child ate a French fry or two from the plate of another, Brussels for the adult. (Both parts were mine.) There was the passing thought of jealousy not necessarily pinned to anything. We said no to the white wine. The walk home was long. My mouth wanted to sing but made itself instead into the shape of not-speaking. In a dream a few nights later I attempted to flush two (borrowed) umbrellas. The bathroom filled with water. The mess could not be contained.


SCAT by Alan

(during set break)

S: So what you're trying to say is that they were in time?

X: Better than most I've seen.

S: And through the changes? I mean, those were no ordinary changes.

X: Through the changes.

M: Sick.

S: There was a moment tonight I felt lost. Like there was no time. Did you guys feel that at all?

X: I only slightly understand what you're talking about right now.

(M lights a smoke)

S: I was reminded of an apartment building across the river. The one we always passed when we got off the bridge. It sort of leaned over the highway as if it were an upper lip of the mouth forming around us. We were always coming out of it. Never going in.

M: Huh.

S: When the band lost itself just now, that's what it felt like. Coming out of a conduit, never feeling alone, part of something bigger. These types of things.

X: I'm telling you they didn't lose time.

M: I saw a house like that in a magazine once. It was white as a whale.

X: What the hell does the color matter?

S: How large was it?

M: I remember it was as big as a planet...and it stood over us too.

S: Stood over?

M: Like your coming out. Like it never let us come fully out though.

S: I see. So the feeling never left?

M: And the house.

S: The feeling and the house never left you. You were always exiting and never leaving. Reminds me of a friend across the coast.

M: Who were you with?

S: Someone dear. Always someone dear. And you?

M: I was alone.

X: In time, I'm telling you.

M: The music sometimes makes me feel alone even though there are others on the room, you know. And playing it. That too.


Sweet-tooth by Lyle

She called it my sweet-tooth. In that sickly way that people make silly sounding things take on pregnant nastiness. It's as much my fault as her’s. Or maybe it’s society’s. It doesn’t matter. Really. It might.

I do remember meeting her at the Scat Jazz Lounge in Fort Worth. She sat at the end of the bar smoking a cigarette. I called her a cliche across the room — I’d had a few — and that sealed it. Never looked back. Except for that split second and then I ran into a pole — well-lighted, that Fort Worth. She caught up to me, heels in hand, and sat down on the ground as I rolled around holding my mouth. Well now, she said. What do we have here?