John Stone, US




Free Verse

Champagne Eyes

another dusty town
crumbling stucco and neon
against a sky on fire
as the desert sun goes down
on a city in flames

instruments loaded in
another Mexican meal
hotter than a pistol
after a drive by

and the waitress has champagne eyes

the daytime drunks wander out
the night time drunks
slide into still warm booths
leather worn slick with use

and the band begins to play

world weary road dogs
ply their aural madness
the funk erases the vomit smell
the cigarette burns

and the hookers canít sit still

the B3 scorches clean the shabby walls
drums and bass touch a primal place
that lives within each of us
the joint is suddenly Carnegie Hall

and the bartender buys the band a round

high and exhausted
we drag equipment to the bus
in the silent predawn darkness
and someone whispers did you see her?

the girl with the champagne eyes?

the driver cranks the engine
it coughs like a junkie on his last legs
dragging soft sighs and harsh laughter
out onto the highway again

and itís another dusty town



Burma Shave

straight razor
whetted to a diamond edge
I remember the rhythmic slap
blade against leather
as he stropped and stropped
his gnarled mahogany hands
in sure manipulation
as the hot water ran

I watched in wonder from the hallway
memorizing his ritual
admiring his deft strokes
waiting for the blood
that never came...

The razor is mine now
one of the little things
he left behind in memory
I keep it sharp
as the obsidian blade
but have never used it
he was so much better than I
in a close shave








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