Blue Chameleon Blues

Inspired in part by Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon”

Dawn’s finger tips of rose, along with the rest of her heavenly body, repose deep beneath a quilt woven of light and Phoebus’ traces across the sky. Above, a dark vaulted blackness leaks pin pricks of lights depicting cave drawings of her friends and relatives. Breakfast or brunch or whatever you want to call it came and went in a the flick of a young girl’s knot of curls. Dinner too. The reels on the recorder spin round and round. He inhabits the two and the four as the drummer taps those swung triplets on the high hat while punctuating them with the kick. The bass man slaps a repetitive figure like a shuttle on a loom, weaving the groove with ghost notes and swinging so hard everyone marvels at how close he gets to the next beat without falling out of time. Memories of the Blue Diner fade into his cries, “Stay on the one, on the one!” The guitar player and piano man shade the sketch purple with notes of red and blue. He taps a stomp box, raises harp and mic to his lips and threads a melody through the narrow spaces left in time and silence. The groove holds them or they hold it. No more instrument and musician. No one knows for how long. Groove, only groove.

A light flickers in the booth, She’s pours into the room like cream falling into rich black coffee. He feels the light on his lids and knows it’s Her. Smooth creamy skin and dark curls inhabit the groove. Somehow it becomes tighter and silkier all at once. The melody fills all the empty spaces to the point of bursting. To the bridge he cries, take it to the bridge. Tension builds and resolves to the groove and they stop. They hear her voice over the studio PA, when are you coming home?

Blue Plate Special

Young Dawn contemplates a fork full of cold eggs as He sits quietly in his booth. A Dylan lyric loops in his head, “There must be some way out of here.” He reaches for his third habnero infused Bloody Mary, “Said the joker to the thief.”

At once She appears in the vestibule by the front door and crosses the space in a bubble of self-possession. A baggy wool hat abruptly flops on table followed by a shower of thick-dark curls.

He contemplates her arrival and imagines the conversation,

“You stole the covers again. I got cold so I left”
She smiles imperiously.
“You do it all the time, I’m tired of it.”

“You left me,” Her voice cools the peppers’ heat as it carelessly veers to remonstrance.

He manages, “You looked so comfortable wrapped in our blankets. And I was hungry.” She doesn’t take the hint.

From the empty space behind the booth the word “Coffee” interrupts the moment. Hot black liquid spills into a white cup. She frowns, “Tea.”

The cup disappears. The cymbal clink of a stainless steel carafe lid punctuates the silence followed by the muffled tear of a tea bag. Hot clear liquid mixes with the leaves as the metallic scent of commercial tea billows upward.

“Need more time?” asks the empty space. She doesn’t bother to look at the menu, “Blue Plate Special.”She rips six packets of sugar and tips the cream.

She notes the dead soldiers strewn about his paper place mat, each grave marked with a twisted lemon slice and half-eaten a stalk of celery. She adds, “And thirsty too, apparently.”

Scovilles of doubt enflame his belly. There’s too much confusion / I can’t get no relief. She goes in for the kill. First a pout then,

“How come you didn’t wait for me?”
“I’m sorry. You looked peaceful. I didn’t want to wake you.”

The blue plate specials arrive. Two eggs over easy, hasbrowns, and toast. They tuck in. He motions for another drink. The chill of silence cools the moment.

Young Dawn stands on the sidewalk, brushes her hair from her face and hails a taxi for home.

Blue Taxi

The sounds of blue Nikes squeaking on marble fade in his mind. He wanders the neighborhood lost in thought while Young Dawn’s fingertips of rose dig knuckle deep into the day.

He reaches the boulevard where schools of taxis carry lovers and drunks home. The bleary eyed slouch in ripped back seats avoiding Young Dawn’s prying hands with tipped caps and closed eyes. He thinks to follow suit, “I might as well go home.”

The cool air causes his nose to run. He absentmindedly wipes the dribbles from his mustache with the back of his hand. Her scent arcs across membrane and synapse. She lay crumpled on the bed with the covers avariciously wound around her body. He follows the twisted curves through strange dusky lands full of joy and despair.

A blue taxi breaks from the school and slows down to measure his intentions as he stands on the corner. The passenger window glides open. “Uptown Mate?” He reaches for her keys in a gesture that spooks the driver. That settles that.

He arrives back to her apartment as Young Dawn’s crimson soaked claws tear off the day’s skirt and panties. He fumbles with the locks. The key still fits. She looks up dreamily from the knot of bedclothes. Whatcha doin? He mumbles “Blue Taxi.” She says, “Come back to bed.”

He kicks off his Blue Nikes and carelessly tosses his clothes in a heap at the foot of her bed. As he peels a blanket off her body, he wonders why the blue taxi swam away.

Blue Nikes

No Blue Nikes were harmed in the writing of this little ditty.

The TV went dark. “She shoulda paid the electric bill. What’m I gonna do now?  Two words. Blue Nikes.” It’s so dark he can’t see his hand in front of his face. “Basement apartment. She’s gotta get a better place.”

He gingerly slides off the bed and lands on his knees.  Socks in the dark. Sticky underwear. “Pants, pants, pants. He reaches under the bed. Dust bunnies cling to his fingers. He shakes his hands. Clots of hair cling to his skin.

On the other side of the bed. Russian hands and Roman fingers find a pair of crumpled panties, which he reflexively lifts to his nose. His pulse quickens momentarily as a chthonic olfactory wake parts the waters of his chi.

“Blue Nikes.” His mantra brings him back to the task at hand. His fingers go slack and the panties fall to the carpet.

She heaves a sigh followed by a stifled whimper. A teacher once told him dream utterances flow up from the unconscious. He holds his breath to listen for somebody else’s name. Her breathing resumes its autonomic rhythm. No deep insights tonight.

He crawls across a deep pile tundra and aims in the direction of the unseen door. Blue Nikes keep him going forward. A smile brushes his lips.  The suede tickles his fingertips as he caresses the swoosh. “Upside down Pumas.”  Click. The door closes behind him as he slips into the night just ahead of Young Dawn’s fingertips of rose. His Blue Nikes squeak on the marble floor.