Starry-eyed Lothario

A smoky room with blue lighting,
a brunette with bobbed hair
and a sleeve tattoo
singing in contralto,
a drummer with a light touch
tapping the hi-hat and snare,
Led Zeppelin posters and flaming
martinis like cocktails from hell,
the saxophonist takes over and
lets the jazz slowly envelop the
bar like mist covering pines –
waves and waves of the
Paul Desmondesque alto
silhouetting the patrons against
a mellow, mauve background
of dotted minims and crochets,
an odd time signature like
snippets of sweet conversation
gambolling from table to table,
I see her sitting alone,
smoking a slender cigarette,
side swept, strawberry blonde hair,
hazel eyes which drowned
a hundred moons,
a faint smile betraying both
the mischievousness
and benevolence of a vixen,
rosy lips with a hint of wistfulness,
and a thousand scenarios flit about
in my mind like cards spinning on
a desk before being
sucked into a vortex,
each one jostles for attention,
holds up a sign, saying, “Pick me!”
And I wonder if I must choose the
enigmatic prophet in the wild,
speaking words of
wisdom and caution
and soothing the damsel in distress,
or if I must pick the musician
replete with confidence and
a blazing instrument burning his riffs
in the hearts of his audience
until the femme fatale
eyes him with a lopsided grin,
or if I should choose the poet
talking about the living greats:
Seshadri, with his lyrical prose
about living in a trawler and braving
the storms, Smith with her Bowie
obsession, Olds with her raw,
uncompromising take on the taboo.
I look at her and reckon she’s
the quintessential Lorelei
with her piercing melody
that will make this boatman crash
against the rocks,
but don’t nights of passion
demand the blood
of the poète maudit?
I hear the sound of soft rain
in the distance and picture
ringlets of water around
the cobblestones and droplets
dropping down windows,
I imagine a city of lights
with its neon and Eeyorish charm,
stars set in concrete crying out
to their distant brethren in galaxies
far away for freedom,
scintillating little masterpieces
trapped in brick, beseeching
their elders for liberty so they
too can dance to the rhythm of
the heavens.
All this infuses me with
romanticism and not knowing
if I’m playing a role or being
myself, I walk up to her.

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