any more than Bogie on the flat screen smoking Camels
and looking world-weary at the bar.
Bogie's dead, eaten up by cancer,
liver hard and beaten-up as a gymnasium medicine ball.
And yet, here I am, and here is my heart
like a twin engine monoplane on the tarmac at Casablanca.
No smart suit and fashionable hat for me.
I want my father's old fedora and his jacket I used to wear
because I loved him, and we both
drove my mother to razor blades like matching bookends
around a collection of Hem and pulp novels and every page
read to her like THE END THE END THE END.
This is prop whiskey, the gin is Dasani water but the lime is real.
This mood, though, it's the view from a blacked-out liner
at night and I can just make out the lanterns at a cafe on the shore
where they drink the real stuff,
spread lovely lies like butter on bread,
and the solitaries read James Joyce with their works in their pocket.
The off-duty ferryman raises his glass. To me? Not possible.
I am the woman with ink ribbons in her hair, erstatz ether bows
imaginary like the humming presses in a 1940's movie scene.
Edit out the brassy blonde coming through the door,
there's only room for one hard case here
with a PI license and a heart of paper, cotton, leather,
but never even around the corner from silver or gold.
So bottoms up, sobersides, please rush in from the rain I've drummed up
and say something nice. It's always 3 a.m. in these scenes
and I long for morning,
and lanterns lit
like my father's smile.
for Desperate Poets "I wake up screaming: Desperate Noir."
Image at top: Bing AI
Music: Billie Holiday Willow Weep For Me