Gritty Details

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tonight's Poet Corner: Red Shoes, Blue Shoes, Red Face, Deep Blues

Red Shoes, Blue Shoes, Red Face, Deep Blues
by Belinda Roddie

The fool in the red shoes snarls
at the lady in the blue shoes, "You're
as crooked as the old willow tree in
my front yard!" And the lady smiles and
says to the fool, "Then your tree must
be suffering from the low-quality fertilizer
spewing from your enormous mouth!"

And the saxophonist watching the screen
outside trills a sad tune on a wobbly reed. His
friend, curly-haired and green-eyed, joins his homage
to the greats on a dented trumpet that still can
howl to the moon as well as the wolves. Despite
the alluring cacophony of their duet in the middle
of a downtown deluge of early autumn apathy,

all the jazz in the world can't save us from
a reality of snake oil salesmen brandishing bottles
stout as grenades in our faces, nor can it spare us
from seeing, out of the corners of our eyes,
the broken strings still holding up the shaky
facade of stability on a dilapidated stage in
this old, abandoned American theater, a theater

where the fool in the red shoes still blusters
to an empty room, after everyone has cleared out
and dispersed like locusts into the field of cold
and clean steel. Keep on sweating under the lights,
dear jester, your bells jingling, your nostrils
flaring against the endless crimson: Perhaps
the heat will make you melt away at last.

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