I Measure Time By How A Body Sways

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The slight tweak of humid stuffiness lends itself to morning’s stifled heat, and a scalding bent to the dripping laundry outside of Chinatown tenement windows, some with newspapers taped-up in them instead of drapes or blinds. All the humdrum of afternoon’s towel-throwing slinks off to another mint julep in the shade of a banana tree, a high place to shout, “It is never very terrible at all,” from, where the coffee grows, maybe on a balcony or a roof with a view somewhere. The crumby courtyard’s littered with clothes-lined sentiments, dog hair, discarded Valentines, crumpled Dear Janes, a few cratered rubber bouncy balls — all in the somber timbre of a jilted hack who’s falling in love with too many girls over and over again. Casing the joint for rebellion, curios of a settled nature, or just the heel-toe of getting by. A Bush League skipper from Albuquerque who couldn’t spell most of his players’ names over dinner. A slash of hope harnesses the estimated value of despair, and the delivery specialists windup for another “wherever” in the still luck of handshakes, tinsel and rope wristbands, and long, long visors. Nobody sleeps in this weather. Two ladies in high heels walking backwards down a steep hill, checking over their shoulders for signs of life or death moments. The nights just go on and on, never even breaking for morning. Nothing pat. Down for most of the count all day. Scrubbed with parched dreams, arid and sentenced to detachment, another wince, another sleeper car gone off the rails. We plead darling with midnight’s knell. Solving’s in the sweat-soaked undershirt and the balled-up day-old socks. Skim the smoking sewer grates for answers. Pinch the grime from the clogged drain of volition’s spit. Get a room. A spume of cat-napping bravery purrs through oblivious sights and sinister blooms traded in for washed meal tickets. Sworn-in testaments, dodged questions, pleasures thieved by should’ve-been felons. You get smaller here, a little bit more every afternoon. Don’t raise the I-beams, Charlie. We’re all fantastic. Put my small change on a shorter wavelength. Kentucky-Derby evenings, a makeshift ladder leaned between the rills of an aluminum shed’s side, all the hair of all the dogs run out of town. Nothing that’ll keep you jogging along with the moose and the mule deer for long. The sidewalks all know your step by heart. And mine? Mine’s long gone and jammed-up with static and pine tar; no territory there left to claim. No home but away, until the bonehead rackets come on back around, until all the last calls are calling you back home, and with a mustering of getting’s gone we’ll rally the usual and the used to one last together that’ll do anything but have to end.

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