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afterlife’s foggy streets
by KJ

I gallivanted the afterlife’s foggy streets for a millennium
and never stumbled upon a place I could call home
All the giggle sticks I mortified myself with Lucifer couldn’t give me bliss

My trench coat was plastered in Cuban cigar smoke and a prostitute’s pleasure
A murder of fiery-eyed crows circled above my matching Trilby fedora
used my coat as a canvas painted it with white liquid droppings

Streets were depressive isles of passionate vagabond guitarists strumming away
fishnet stocking harlots with bleeding black mascara running down their red cheeks
rabid pit bulls in alleys barked with silver glowing eyes gave me the heebie-jeebies

I finally came to this one place off MLK & Malcolm X Drive
Outside read Club Noir in perfect cursive come to life in fluorescent red lights
My sneakers covered in dried mud pulled me through the entrance
the club’s energy possessed me
Everyone wore a pair of hand woven angel wings

Families and friends dolled up in church threads sat at dine-in tables
and ate good ol’ soul food
Centerpieces were china plates of golden fried chicken
sides of potato salad, collard greens, hot water cornbread, four cheese macaroni
and so much more
I licked my lips like a ravenous hound

Fine waitresses in red and white striped uniforms and aprons served more
bottles of Louisiana Hot Sauce than red Kool-Aid
They couldn’t escape my silver wolf-whistle
I sat at the poker table
between curly-haired Langston and bug-eyed Amiri with poker hands up
trash-talking in smooth verses of poetry

Up on stage Miles blew away on trumpet in a Cloud 9 of cigarette smoke
Black ribbons of smooth music notes literally snaked out of Coltrane’s saxophone
danced around fellas’ beret caps, women’s flowery boater and straw hats
kissed rims of wine glasses
Ray and Duke off to the side polished the white teeth of a Mahogany piano
serpents of purple haze diffused out between Jimi’s fingers
as he played his lightning bolt guitar strings
Every time he plucked a chord thunder CLAPPED outside
Everyone paused dancing, sipping drinks, and looked up startled

A black rose bouquet of silence serenaded
serene sounds of precipitation made the club’s environment more jazzy
Everyone shrugged and went back to their usual jive

The host was a nappy bearded Gil-Scott who stepped behind the mike
beret tight over his afro to announce the next headliner
“…Make some noise for these amazing composers right here
And next up give it up for BILLIE…HOLIDAAAYYY!”

Marvin and Luther sat cross-legged at the bar’s high stools and caressed their chin hairs
hungry eyes possessed by Billie’s fineness on the mike
chandelier earrings and cocktail rings were Parisian lights
around her gold body-skimming dress

Don’t want to forget about the floral hair clip with white gardenias made her face POP
No more drug addictions
Pure magnificence
She tilted her head back and wailed strange fruit at the audience

B.B walked in with Lucille hugged his plumped belly
big limp in his stride as he made way to the bar
asked the bartender for a Bourbon cocktail
Guess he couldn’t leave ol’ Lucy back down on earth

Environment went dormant for a while as Bob and Jimi did a duet
Bob’s strong cannabis scent lifted the crowd
full-belly night goers looked on paralyzed by the music massaging their ears

Everyone peeled their eyes at the entry way
Maya and Mandela held hands and promenaded in a matching blood scarlet suit
and dress set the place on FIRE
Everyone GASPED, held napkins and handkerchiefs over their greasy lips
Langston and Amiri’s jaws enviously dropped like the playing cards in their hands

A loud applause broke out
as the two made way to the dance floor
Bob and Jimi settled to a larghetto tempo as everyone looked on
and watched Maya and Mandela clean dust bunnies of the maplewood floor

Michael looked on backstage in his red Thriller jacket
next to a slick-haired James ready to GET DOWN!

Plantinum Disco ball came down
They got on stage with held crotches and had a dance off
All the legendary musicians got back on and improvised something FUNKY
crowd cheered was in sheer awe

Before I could see the finale
A temptress in a round neck indigo Rockabilly dress and an afro’ for the ages
pulled me by the wrist through the back door
hands soft as swan feathers

Shrouded in an alley of lost angels, sprinkling rain, weed and cigarette smoke
dumpster’s garbage scent,
shattered glass bottles crunched under our shoes
She aggressively PUSHED me against the building with a devilish look

My heart SUNK
legs TREMBLED
eyes dilated
Deep breath

A smile arched as she planted her taffy tender lips upon mine
After a millennium of waiting
Curiosity finally found Happiness-