Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Piano Bar

It sits on the corner of Steinway and Baldwin Streets,
nicely cooled against Dog Day heat.
At 2 a.m., the bartender, in stiff white shirt and black bow tie,

polishes glasses and eyes them like an astronomer
looking through telescopes fixed on three silent patrons
at corner tables light years from one another,

their candles winking like inebriated stars.
The femme fatale at the ivories sounds like Nora,
her voice floating on late-night silk

and sounding just as comely sweet.
I sit in a corner and scratch poems on a napkin
while observing this dim universe as the hours wear on.

The astronomer delivers a tumbler of scotch, neat.
Piano notes become cosmic background radiation,
a rendition in a minor key from the music of the spheres.

It is a universe that I can inhabit and wear like skin,
one in which I can create my verse on the downlow
for the next fourteen billion years or so.

~William Hammett

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