Smoky joints and hard bitten smiles

He moves out from the shadows

Stepping under the spotlight streetlight sign

Dark coat fedora and a single smoke signal curls

Up and around

No words spoken as he leans against

The lamp post

Waiting patiently for

The patent sound

Of her heels hitting the sidewalk

To take him off his guard

A lipsticked pencil skirted honey

With too much to lose

And not enough to give

From the short change she has earned

From other people’s tips

Carefully hiding the blisters

From six hours on her feet

And the hard-pressed looks

From the wolves and foxes

The whistles and bristles

From the five o’clock shadow

And midnight bourbon breath

That frequents the downtown dive

That masquerades

As cool and expensive

For patrons of sleaze and easy

On the eye

They who wanted a gold-plated service

For a couple of buttons and a quarter

But she thought only of the dirty screwed up bills

That line her jar at home

At the end of another night of

On the tiles of someone else’s

Smooth and buttoned down

Idea of a goodtime laced with whiskey

And sweet sugared perfumed smiles

In the heady paint the town red winks

Of drunken sailors and carousing office clerks

He waits

He stubs out a smoking burn

He walks her back

Away from the scurrying rats

To the clean and stain free apartment

As she sinks into his arms

Asleep already

The fedora smiles and sighs a resigned sigh

And lights another cigarette

Before drifting off

Into a land of make believe

Where the sharks don’t bite

And the wolves have all gone home

To their mothers


◄ Speechless naked feet

Bring on the night ►


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Martin Elder

Tue 10th Sep 2019 22:34

Bless you Rose thank you so much. Much appreciated

Thanks also to Tom, Nigel and Rachel for liking

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Rose Casserley

Tue 10th Sep 2019 13:37

so glad I remembered to come back to what I think is your finest poem to date Martin.


Rose ?

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Martin Elder

Tue 3rd Sep 2019 19:08

Thanks a lot guys

I am with you in the Maigret. its very much that era. I have to say your request for more has set my creativity going with a follow up which I have just written. watch this space for its posting soon

You have mentioned one of my favourite artists in Hopper and of course the inimitable Bogart. Who can forget the Maltese falcon and Casablanca. strangely enough I dug out my old Ricki lee Jones album which set me off writing a piece about her who was apparently Tom waits girlfriend at one time

I am so please you liked it does as you say have said it has a real Marlowe feel about it which I had not picked up on immediately. I now picture him solving another case.

Once again thank you so much

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Jason Bayliss

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 18:46

Yeah, I was imagining Phillip Marlowe. Really, really good, you know, REALLY good!

J. x

Devon Brock

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 12:22


Glad to see you are back and so very tasty. The grit of this "Tom Waits meets Edward Hopper meets Bogart" poem is stunning. Like Keith, I was mesmerized.


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keith jeffries

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 11:14


With this poem you have excelled yourself indeed. As I began to read it, the first description of the man in a fedora smoking a cigarette immediately brought to mind the image of Inspector Maigret as all his series started with this scene. Then the poem began to unfold into a description which held me fast as it trigged my imagination of bygone days of which I had been a participant.

I enjoyed this. Any more?
Thank you

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