Sharp Noir (Part IV)

Noir’s father was a neighbourhood

mensch and Machiavelli

of phonebooth and pocketbook,

“Surrendering his wealth,

he followed the Colonel,

rolled heads at The Palace

(Before Rubix) but left us

without notice one night

as we slept,” – his calls blocked

as his friends stopped turning

up for work, their absurd

time-cards gone, their letters

cropped; at their doors

he’d morse’d dead knocks

and uttered dusty whispers

into lobby tin-speakers.

“His documents, photographs

we had to burn; medals

in a tin buried beneath

a birch by the railway

bridge to the steel mill;

I’m a girl fixing the memory

of a long line of railmen.”

The Balladeer cuts an expression

into her harmonica and begins

to play with messianic hint;

the milieu echo Cecil B. DeMille’s

name in the realm of question;

with the roseate breath in her lungs,

she appears to paint freely with

the caustic saloon air.

The mass of canines without

eyes in front, dripping entropy,

produced from the bar

on some vast Martini loom,

swarm to her like flies

to the sweetness of rotting fruit.

Dusted by a pollen of kisses,

lovers stretch gratitudes

toward mistaken donors, create

illusions later perceived false.

A stewardess hands out scented towelettes

to mop our cephalic sweat

(not a flicker of interest

across her vampirically pale

features). Appearing in seriatim,

sciatic dancers null our osseous pains.

The green pharisees turn and run

to The Juke but he’s wreathed in love.

His body speeds, all bravado,

feet barely beneath him,

the slender amandus dynamos

around her, lashed by pinball

awareness, running wild and bold

- a distracted chatelaine failed

to tether this restless colt.

I’m tipping brown sugar

in a filter coffee, sighing

at a saucy type in a fur collar,

as some of the crowd begin

to fumble for their chalk,

pull at ties, palm their lips aghast,

become fixed in poses

stricken for no purpose.

The Juke on the floor:

three bullets sewn through

his chest – he wouldn’t

have died in the matinée show.

He really makes mosaic

of the music box he was

leaning against as Noir

pulled bashfully at her dress.

Rubix claps the revolver

into Cassis’ hands and

everyone knows it was him.

Troubles not original

in these parts, the paranoiac

revelers, the pleasure sucked

from them, become

brainless insects, delve

into the battle waged

knowing nothing of the aims;

as a general is forever

enacting stratagems

from the previous war,

I pluck Noir and Dr. Cassis

from the vibrissae

of the dimensionless beast;

we hide among the pixie women

in the street selling trinkets

ankle deep in peduncles

and hat ribbons, waving feathers.

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