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March 7, 2022


down on rush street it’s rush hour
people pass by after a tough day at the office

ties and tongues loosened

water cooler gossip now barstool gossip 

buses, taxis, cars playing hopscotch 

until their parents call them in for supper

people going in and out of trendy restaurants

too late for the early special if there is one

they’re out of work now passing 

the mostly invisible — the really out of work who sit on the bridges

with mangy hat or dented dirty metal battleship gray cup in front of them

looking for a few bucks that might rent a room

in the disappearing flophouses

shelters with 25 or 50 of your down on their luck friends

many of whom you don’t know or trust

the old man with an out of tune sax

that looks as old and decayed as he does

case propped open 

scratchy voiced singer with scratched guitar

the less musical just staring at the well worn sidewalk

of which they have much in common 

being ignored and stepped on by the masses

propped up by filthy facades of street life

dresses in shabby hand me down down downs

past them are the jazz and blues clubs with refined neon

that aren’t so numerous anymore like they used to be

it’s getting to be all corporate bullshit, it’s hard to get away from

ah, a stiff drink and a smile from the bartender 

some uncontained bass from the man with sunglasses and a goatee playing the part well

tinkling piano from a talented yet looking bored guy

who looks like he could play this jam in his sleep

like valium on sheet music

smooth as warm butter on a hot knife

the drummer looking all cool and keeping the beat beating

playing a song that’s anonymous but friendly

there’s a late train going back so it’s okay