Sunday at the Village Vanguard

Hell

Is so easy to hear,

Recorded meticulously,

Microscopically,

To be unraveled by needles

As it spirals on the platter;

 

Here it is, in sweet stereo:

The clinking of glasses,

The occasional cough,

Sprinkled like sand

On hardwood floors.

 

A maudlin couple look up

And occasionally applaud;

A white tuxedo

Serves apples and brie.

 

Unhindered,

Fingers flash on ivory manuals;

A crackling summer-bonfire-snare

Warms subterranean bass roots

In deep earth, miles below

The dull shovels of apathy.

 

After appetizers,

Entrées arrive unasked for.

Now dessert, now drinks,

Now quickly:

A nod—

A laugh—

A kiss goodbye—

A step into the silent night.

 

And as the Maître d’

Fetches the hats with a smile,

The sharp man hunched at the keys

Invites empty tables

 

Into paradise.

 

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