Categories
Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends

two artists in a train station at night

with no less than a hundred other places
he could have planted himself
the well-dressed septuagenarian in the suit
sits down directly beside
my london fog
in the starkness of the 3 a.m. train station

his bones
and the wooden bench
making similar creaking noises
as he settles

“Isn’t it crazy you can only catch a train back east in this town at 3:30 in the damn morning?”

as he rifles a jacket pocket to no avail

i sigh and say,

“It is Cincinnati…notoriously late for everything.”

he nods and gives and extra suck to his throat lozenge

the sense of intrusion fading
my mind performing jubilant cartwheels
because he just said
back east
as if people actually say
back east
suddenly feeling grateful for his warmth
in the surgical sterility
of the vacuous art deco room

where it somehow manages
to be 1939

save the pay phones
ripped from their booths

wires dangling from the walnut walls
folding doors half open
glass still covered
in fingerprints
gaping victims of technology and time

other passengers hailing from the depression era
begin filing in
with too much luggage
and too many children

my eyes find a small amber feather
on the side of his exquisite olive fedora
as he asks

“Why a train? You look more like the jet set type…”

“Too afraid to fly…you?”

“Too old to drive and too poor to fly. Where you going, miss? I’m Karl.”

“All the way to Penn Station, Karl. 17 hours. My name is Alicia.”

we shake hands

“Me too. What do you do for a living, if I may?”

“I write angry poems and perform them in front of people.”

“You gonna write an angry poem about me?”

“No, but I do plan to write about those Cordovan boots you’re wearing…”

he laughs at the floor
shaking his head at my knowing

“You are a poet.”

i smile a century

“What do you do?”

“I play the trumpet.”

“You gonna play a song about me?”

“You’re damn right I am…and those heels you’re wearing…”

“You ever walked down the ramp to the platform here before? They may have been a bad choice…”

“So steep it’s like you’re going to hell. Well, tonight we can go together.”

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