Silence sweeps the snow-brushed, sibilant city streets while you’re swiftly passing, light strides through the alleys behind the bars, the tosspots and saucers, throwing back pints and quarts and shots, metric and rhythmic, dancing with sweating mugs and squeaking corner booths, through the light breezy jazz and blues, sailing whispers through blinds and cracked windows, wholly unheard; the notes so sweet, you’re sure they couldn’t have come from you. Wizened by drink, wisdom through folly they’re tossing their heads, little dribbles in their shorts, Gin chin drips, as your pen pricks the coffee-stained notebook page searching for the word, the way. The lines coming in slanted, like the late crowd sauntering in now, the words obscured, tears that come and go just about as often as the barkeep, she knows the tips don’t flow from the tavern coffee drinkers. So you flag her down, order a beer, but just as she turns to go, you stop her, see the callous-hardened hands find the thickened, child weary hips and she’s all narrowed eyes and impatience sensing empty pitchers and sweating ice tinkling in the bottoms of old fashioned glasses, “and a bourbon,” you add, “please.” And you’re gifted with the first smile you’ve seen all day.
Berdan and Roanoke or Miles Davis for French film by A.S. Coomer
She’s in a junkie’s jacket & a borrowed car. Ducked out on the tab at the diner & left the state to raise the kids. Skipped off north, snowed in & tucked away, hidden, at the corner of Berdan and Roanoke.
Spitting blood from a lifetime of nightlife, dying from thirty-four years of slow suicide, coming in soft and low, Miles Davis for French film; a penchant for hits or a pinch-hitter for a pinch, a squeeze, followed closely by a freebie, not a handout, I guess, she earned it.
Griping about the High Life in an obscure dialect of Olde English, the needle and the damage done, singing, “how can the night be over when the party hasn’t even really begun?” Daylight signifying nothing more than a need for more comfortable environs.
She’s got a couple of lawsuits pending, the mystical check hovering above and just ahead, the mythical shroud of Paid-Off, of the Easy Days, forever bug-eyed and waiting for more, more, more, a fresh wave of Xanax Blue or China White to lift her up, the chariot’s plush against her aching, weary bones, into the realm of the Eternal, Holy Holy Hebetudinous Visions of God and Grandeur, Beauty and Destiny, Sickly Sweet Heaven and Snowbound Languorous Hell: Happy Daze, uninterrupted.
Yet she remains, for today, at least; but just until the check comes in, sing with her, but just until the check comes in...
A.S. Coomer’s 115th Dream by A.S. Coomer
Act One: Took a Benadryl and an Ambien, pink and white, respectively, maybe a little something else then slipped under the green sheets, put the headphones on loud, old recordings of a scratchy Sylvia Plath, prickly even in death, reading Lady Lazarus and Ariel, and, boy, did I dream.
Act Two: I walked into the empty stadium shaking, knowing what I had to do. Covered in honey, it was up to me to save a herd of holy cows, bells jangling with the loose folds of their sacred necks, from the man that claimed to “own” them: Michael Vick. An aside: I’m not even a vegetarian or a card carrying member of PETA.
The honey solidified with each hurried, anxious step, wrapped me in a sugary, inescapable embrace and gave me the feeling of a dilatory troll in the first rays of a burgeoning day.
Mike Vick was laughing, chalking out the lines for the battle ring where the cattle, formerly imagined symbols of wealth and selfless giving, would fight to the death, gnashing teeth, stamping hoofs and swinging tails, all for the enjoyment of a washed up, felonious quarterback.
Act Three: “Fuck,” I screamed, “No!” That’s when the alarms went off, bouncing off the metal bleachers and radiating in my head like a fever.
A studious bunch of blue-haired old bats, led by Tipper Gore, descended from the stands, which had only moments ago been deserted.
Tisk-tisking, clucking like thick breasted censorial hens, they circled me in my confinement. “Sin, sin, sin,” they chanted. “Sin, sin, sin.” I tried to run but was stuck. I tried to scream but the honey filled my mouth. I tried to cry but the tears flooded out vision then stayed put.
I could do nothing. Nothing but watch in dazed horror, stuck in a sugar-laced stupor, frozen like a microscopic virus under the studious eyes of a laboratory researcher, as their thin, chapped lips miraculously transmuted into sharp, pecking, bowdlerizing beaks, shining wetly under the bright lights
as the crowd, arriving now, slowly made their way in, shuffling along, weighed down like freight with kids, beers, hot dogs and programs, shoving ticketstubs under the dripping noses of red-coated ushers and following their frail, pointing fingers to their waiting seats for the Big Show.
IV. Epilogue: I woke feeling guilty and bewildered, crust scratching at the corners of my bloodshot eyes, and my sleep addled stomach strangely churning, nauseous but, oddly dichotomously, demanding an undercooked, greasy double cheeseburger.
Are there any dream interpreters with us tonight? Care to have a go at that one?
Bio: A.S. Coomer is a writer. He likes cats, tacos, books & comics. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in issues of Red Fez, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Literary Orphans Journal, The Quill, Blotterature,GFT Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, Oxford Magazine, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review,Heater, The Broadkill Review, The Merida Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, 101 Words, Intrinsick Magazine and Serving House Journal, to name a few. You can find him at www.ascoomer.wordpress.com. He also runs a “record label” for poetry that can be found here: www.lostlonggoneforgottenrecords.wordpress.com.