Etta James at the Audobon Ballroom

Someone knocks over a chair (drunk one)
fight ready, but this vivid sound stops
fists—who let them big black birds
in—Again. This night. What

flight.  Fight.  Let’s try dancing the blues
to SMITHEREENS. Rustle up those moans and sighs
for the good-working-Henrys of this world—

ready ready ready to block and hustle.
Shit and cuss you out, somewhere backstage—the money scatters.

Your skin beams sweetness while your voice screams
xxxxxWhere’s the fucking fun house?
Your chest blossoms possibilities, hips thick enough to swing
which way and oh my
there he stands
in suit sharp as steel and shoes patent leather,
square frames, that wise-guy demeanor, the tipped chapeau.

You’ve picked up the high-heel shoe you throwed down
then repaired your makeup for that second set
the one that promises a better crowd.

Another chair tips back as smoke swarms the littered stage.
You’re too young for this mess and he’ll never grow old.