I only have eyes for you

a corner bar smoky drink

reminding me of ‘Gaslight’

hard-liquor evenings catching

Dave Van Ronk, Richie Havens,

but this ain’t Greenwich Village

it ain’t nineteen seventy


a classy five-piece ripping

a re-cooked Coltrane classic

from 'My Favorite Things' the

soloist is pretty good


the bar guy is watching me

I mouth, ‘a double... no ice’

he nods – he pours another


a singer hobbles onstage

heavy on a walking stick

takes her place behind the mic


the jazz backing stands ready

she snaps her fingers, ‘three four’

the band clambakes a smoking

‘I only have eyes for you’


her reedy vocals grip me

pain-cracked, faltering, haunting,

she sounds like broken Billie

putting out her happy face...


but this is England, on a

drab Dalston weekday evening.

two thousand and seventeen

no one listening but me


the set closes. I buy drinks

ask how she can stand to sing

when she carries so much pain?


her double goes down in one

the barman pours another

she drinks, she shrugs, she coughs, grunts,

‘worse when you’re crippled inside.’

◄ for Juliette

Chet drops by the jazz cafe Alto ►



Thu 14th May 2020 19:17

Thanks, Po, I'm still editing it - tweaking where and when... It has 7 syllable lines - keeping to that structure means every word has to matter - so as I see dud 'uns I root them out and replace.

It's whack a mole in Rick mansions :)

I could have free versed it but since it has a boho ambience I thought better to hold back the floods of loose running words..

I'll probably give it a root and branch polish after I sleep on it 😃

changed it all to present tense - for immediacy
changed closing lines - far too cheesy :)
did some drastic on verse five - it never ends :)

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Thu 14th May 2020 18:40

Bloody marvelous bit of poetry.


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