Friday, December 13, 2013

Poem: The Anywhere Fair

First published in Abbey (Columbia, Maryland)

The Anywhere Fair

occurs at a time and place that are
completely unpredictable,
making publicity problematic.

First indication is a subtle surge of
blood from the aortic valve to the
left wrist, followed by a
slight breeze from the southwest.

Two minutes later, you will find
yourself telling a joke involving
two rabbits and a popular children’s toy.
Later, you will realize the
joke makes no sense.

Two songs hence, you will find
yourself swinging a dark-eyed
Italian girl through a series of
moves that would not seem to
be physically possible.

She finishes a spin, plants a
silver heel on the hardwood and
strikes a pose once assumed by the
most favored of Nefertiti’s handmaids.
The room fills with a thousand
mosquitoes composed entirely of light.

Now is the time.

In your shirt pocket, you will
find the Jack of hearts.
Thrust him into the air.
He will assume a position next to
the mirrored ball and accelerate into
a spin, producing a sound resembling
a sleeping yo-yo or a russet
hummingbird dining on bottlebrush.
Everything else in the room will freeze.

Move freely among the statues.
Steal one of Roberto’s cookies.
Pour yourself a hefeweizen,
Please do not fondle the barmaid.

Have a seat.
Savor the tableau:
Mallory at mid-laugh, hands flying;
Rick and Darlene in a promenade;
Howard at the mic, holding a high G;
Randy reaching for the soundboard.

When you’re ready, set down your
drink, take the Italian girl’s hand,
and the room will spin into life.

When you get home, kick off your shoes.
Place your wallet on the windowsill.
Loop your keys around a lightswitch.
In your left rear pocket, you will
find a matchbox from the Tonga Room.
Light one. Blow it out.
Watch the smoke feather to the ceiling.
Hum a few bars of Misty.
Open your favorite book to page 213.
There you will find the Jack of hearts.

Save this for later.

 From the collection Fields of Satchmo, available for Kindle at

Photo by MJV

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