in a hotel full of out-of-tune harps,
we sit on unpolished wooden floors
sifting through dead, crackling leaves
for messages in the undertow.

desdemona, she laughs,
opens up the blue box in her lap
lets loose a cloud of moths
tiny wings burning
like match heads.

they fly chaotically
for a while,
a wheeling cloud
of miniature fires,
and then
fall dead
legs kicking,

antennae drawing
out the shapes
of insect gods
into the air.

dezzie’s eyes gleam
silver doubloons
reflecting hourglasses
only she could see.

down in the alleyway
the ragman plays
broken songs
on a dead radio.

knives and nooses everywhere, he coughs,
smiles a mouth
full of surgical teeth,
turns the dial up
and points up at me.

country roads…
sings the radio ghost
take me home
to the place I belong

alleys in the shadowways
beg empty cups to believe
that the girl huddled in the gateway
and the undertaker lumbering down the planks
really give a single hoot
about the broken crutch with a bare foot.

nights like these are carousels
with every mirror turned on itself.

symbols flame into life
and are then forgotten
shadows imprinted on our eyes;

we see the meaning only
in places where
streetlights never reach.

and if anyone dared say anything
i swear i’d take back all my dimes;
not even dezzie,
bless her hallway heart
could make me stay.

Copyright 2019 jeff Suwak

I’m not in the Matrix. I AM the Matrix. You can find more of my stuff at

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