Dressed in my black clothes
With Maryanne in her black hose
We sit in the Beatnik Café
Our faces grotesque
Over candle glow
And while Maryanne asks a question
The answer to nobody knows
My eyes fall upon the bongo player
I remember him as a child—
Tall and thin with a crooked nose
Now hunched over on the small stage
Pounding out the rhythms of our soul.
As I listen,
I’m suddenly disturbed by a woman
Speaking painfully loud
Then I recognize the voice—
It is my former lover Cynthia!
A few tables away
Lost in a hashish cloud.
Cynthia is speaking on art
How it is the channel through which the inner self is known
And through her argument contains sound reason
It loses some credence due to her sitting alone.
Cynthia, my waitress poet
We haven’t talked in years
Not since I walked out
And you called out—
“Gmann, don’t you know
Poets feed on tears?”
Now my young companion, Maryanne is speaking—
“Will you listen to that crazy woman over there!”
I offer no response
But remember Cynthia
Thin with pale skin
Eyes dark pools
And her long black silk like hair.
Cynthia now stands
And shakes her finger at an empty chair
“Jesus was an artist
He sculptured my inner mind!
Hitler was no artist…”
She then hangs in silence…
Searching for a line.
So, to save her
Or to save myself
I jump up and shout to the room—
“Will you listen to the bongo player
Now a hush falls on the Beatnik Café
As just his pounding rhythm fills the air.
I don’t know who was first
To join the rhythm with a finger snapping sound
But soon we stand a chorus
Stoned on the rhythm we have found.
For we are saying everything
We ever wanted to say
And we are being heard
We are saying everything
That ever needed to be said
Without uttering a word.
And the bongo player remains strong
Though beads of sweat do mark his brow—
If we stand silent for a moment
I hear him even now…