Scrambled eggs and whiskey in the false-dawn light. Chicago, a sweet town, bleak, God knows, but sweet. Sometimes. And weren't we fine tonight? When Hank set up that limping treble roll behind me my horn just growled and I thought my heart would burst. And Brad M. pressing with the soft stick and Joe-Anne singing low. Here we are now in the White Tower, leaning on one another, too tired to go home. But don't say a word, don't tell a soul, they wouldn't understand, they couldn't, never in a million years, how fine, how magnificent we were in that old club tonight.
Letter to Denise
Remember when you put on that wig
From the grab bag and then looked at yourself
In the mirror and laughed, and we laughed together?
It was a transformation, glamorous flowing tresses.
Who knows if you might not have liked to wear
That wig permanently, but of course you
Wouldn’t. Remember when you told me how
You meditated, looking at a stone until
You knew the soul of the stone? Inwardly I
Scoffed, being the backwoods pragmatic Yankee
That I was, yet I knew what you meant. I
Called it love. No magic was needed. And we
Loved each other too, not in the way of
Romance but in the way of two poets loving
A stone, and the world that the stone signified.
Remember when we had that argument over
Pee and piss in your poem about the bear?
“Bears don’t pee, they piss,” I said. But you were
Adamant. “My bears pee.” And that was that.
Then you moved away, across the continent,
And sometimes for a year I didn’t see you.
We phoned and wrote, we kept in touch. And then
You moved again, much farther away, I don’t
Know where. No word from you now at all. But
I am faithful, my dear Denise. And I still
Love the stone, and, yes, I know its soul.