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June 19, 2012 / josephesque

Poem: Published in Dodo. Issue One — A Zine Supporting Women’s Rights and Equality

Awaiting the Repair of a Transmission on What Was Supposed to be a 4 Day Tour


Squatting on an uneven corner of Haight & Ashbury fairly effete,

I strum twelve strings with fervor. A cigarette stuck to my firm

lips burns towards the center and sends smoke to my sight.

My eyes sweat the sting out while the twang resonates distant,

bringing familiarity to the salty air at the intersection of art and exhaust

where hippy hobos dawn American flag bandanas of best days faded.


Splayed before me is an open case of beige, but rather faded,

with frayed corners and peeling ends that reveal a layer of wiry, effete,

fabric, what once held together the defined edges, victim to the exhaust

of the open road. Inside, the vibrant burgundy velvet fur lining has held firm,

in spite of years of wear and tear. In spite of what felt so long ago, so distant,

in the past. I imagine the muted clinks as coins fly into the case, into my sight.


Between the motors revving and the common folks shuffling in and out of sight

a D seventh draws the attention of a passerby as I shift my gaze to the faded

inner case lining, adding up the earnings. The organic partaker stops, a bit distant,

and I see peace in his demeanor shutting out his sight from the old world effete.

He draws the blinds behind him, and all he can hear is a 12 string melody, firm

and free, and the grace notes branching out and weaving through vehicle exhaust.


I watch as with grace he sways, and his lips, just the corners, crack an exhausted

smile that compliments the finger hammers of the C’s suspension. Losing sight,

I close my eyes, briefly bonding, almost jealous of what he is taking in firmly

from me, but I draw serenity from him and hear his whistling which becomes a faded

contrapuntal sound, complicating the melodies amiably. I feel less effete,

as if I’m called out to nobody but myself, and I feel so utterly distant.


My eyes open to the unexpected third part harmony of a tower pier’s distant

foghorn, and I see the passerby, still shut out from the rest of the world’s exhaust.

His hands dance as if controlled by the moment, He crackles the Velcro of his effete

wallet, and sends his only bill, floating in the San Francisco breeze, and opens his sight

to the dollar dancing through the fog into the collector he can see is quite faded.

I smile in thanks, but he doesn’t notice, so my smile floats in vain past a hazy bay firm.


I apologize as I mute the strings with my dry palm, and distractions firmly

resurface as I gather the earnings of that chilly afternoon. I offer another, more distant

apology to the man, and thank him for his graces, and I put my guitar in its faded

case and buy the rye whiskey I claim is to keep warm, yet quietly, exhaustedly

know I just want to burn off the afternoon like the cigarette butt that hangs just out of  sight

stuck to my chapped lips in the town and street corner I have learned to be so effete.


And the passerby effetely passes, disappearing into an unknowable distance,

slightly more satisfied and slightly more sullen, firmly composed, fairly exhausted.

Out of sight in the San Francisco fog, because the moment, it’s faded.


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