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Contemporary American Flash

The dreams disappear and the music stays, but server and barista demand too much time and more effort at emotion than any job pays, and then you busk and strum and cash comes and goes and you leave town and live with your sister and her man and kids and it’s too crowded with family noise. So with acoustical guitar and green canvas sack, you find yourself in your forties on a bus to nowhere, Minnesota, to meet a nowhere man in late autumn chill. It’s a black-girl booty run to a white boy broken and broke. He’s got nothing but small panes in a tiny studio and he dies every day as a recovering artist and addict and no music gets played and no gigs get staged and the slab of steak you fry just for him gets thrown at the wall of the shower stall. Staring out at his old junk and used table and chairs, you wonder why no rusty needles are stuck in the torn pillows of his faded couch. Or under the beaten rug or behind the barren loveseat where his tantrums pour out quick like wine from his bottle, and you know no one is recovering from nothing and the sex is no thrills or never save for one special time when you wait for him all day long in a lavender bath robe and silvery thong. He comes home from his whiskey and beer and mid-life rage and you lower him down on the queen-sized futon and spend too many minutes touching and pointing as he just lies there, a moan and a sigh, and then he groans too loud and softens too soon and that’s the saddest sound of your world getting colder.

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