A key twist & triggers cheers, clapping, tobacco smoke & clicking heels on a dance floor &
masculine cologne & floral perfume intermingles with working it sweat popping across the tall
upright bass with long street car lines & skips onto the fast-moving drumsticks & roll across the
black and white keys of a fine-tuned white grand piano & swings around the violin strings &
slide down the straight arm of the shining trombones.
Duke Ellington transforms a dusty old Corolla & scents of a flower flat filled with dirt & soft
pink petunia petals & their roots jumping to the beat of the music at the Harlem Savoy & in the
middle of the day it feels much later like one am & the song “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t
Got That Swing” & Do-Wop, Do-Wop, Do-Wop swallows up the room & cameras flash &
women strike a pose with a cigarette holder & smoke curls in one hand close to hot red lips & the
other hand on a ready to dance one mo’ time hip & they know they are fine in their furs &
diamonds & elegant gowns & handsome men in zoot suits & wide knot ties & two tone wing tip
shoes are holding the beat of the melody in their bones.
Turning left & Leontyne Price ignores the succinct odor of compost & she stands in a
shimmering cloud cover from shoulder to toe & ready to radiate Puccini’s Turandot at the
Metropolitan Opera House & a wanting silence proceeds the opening of the shell with a black
pearl & her first vocal note enraptures the auditorium & sitting center stage with chipped nail
polish behind the orchestra & potting soil lining the base of the fingernails & nobody cares about
the fingernails & grateful for the songstress long journey that felt too short & it ended & her
devout admirers & stun season ticket holders clapped for a long, long time at the finale & she
needed to see how much she is adored & how much her fans & curious attendants love the opera
singer from Laurel, Mississippi.
Craving real Italian food & wine & crossing over the ocean & land & holding tight to a wrinkled
Luciano Pavarotti ticket in Vienna & he sings Si, Mi Chiman Mimi (La Boheme) & tears flow
down the cheek for Mimi & the horror of tuberculosis in the bloody handkerchief & helpless
love & the heart takes a pause.
At the entrance of the Broad Ripple Park & the loud bold strum of an acoustic guitar lovingly
scratch the eardrum & it pierce the heart at the Horseshoe Tavern & Melissa Etheridge pulls on
the gut & toss the phrase “by the light of the moon” & it is caught & memories of another special
three am visit flows & it was under the light of a sweet moon too & the white globe gladly came
again & visited last night & the moon was exhilarated with what it saw & returned happy to its
course around the earth.
In the park an itching sunlight intrude upon the “free mulch” sign & another sign “Newport
Music Festival” suspended in the azure sky & sharp pinging sounds of a priceless guitar
penetrates the soul & a genius, Jimi Hendrix, is present & he plays the American Anthem & a
question spits out Who is America? Is it George Taylor & Ahmaud Arbery? & Where was the
“bursting red glare” & the “truth in the night” for Breonna Taylor? & blistering anger emerge
from a gastric shadow & misty red eyes sets a dismal mood & the words “she was every
woman’s daughter” echo in the small space.
Car full of mulch & stuck in traffic & wiping away a tear & waiting & need to get home & an
ambulance & a fire truck & police sirens & they block the street & waiting & a woman with a
gardenia flower pinned to her coffered hair appear beyond the dashboard & Billie Holiday’s face
& a microphone are crowned in a spotlight & she lifts up a sullen Strange Fruit voice &
woefully release lynching madness “for the sun to rot” & too tired of crying more tears &
wondering Who & What is an American? & Where was the flag to protect their still breathing
lungs & cover their lifeless bodies hanging from a tree?
Jolted by a kind car honk & a lane opens & passing mangled cars & lots of people & a stretcher
& prayers for them & the police terse hand signal to move quickly out of the way & Lenny
Kravitz awaits at the L.A. Roxy Theatre & attention is granted to him & screams & groans like a
silly teenager falling at the sight of the Beatles slips out & jumping up and down in a sweaty seat
& lowering the window for more oxygen & BREATH!!! & knowing it is a fabulous sin for him
to look & sing that delicious good.
& it is getting late & the descending sun peeks at the petunias in their plastic cradles & earth safe
bug spray for the garden in a Lowe’s bag & tears stream as Walter Hawkins sings “Oh Happy
Day” & when “He washed my sins away” & Kurt Franklin sums it up & talks/sings of “A
Brighter Day” & provides hope & Albertina Walker push through “I am still here” & never give
up & God is, even when we think He is not & we must help one another & we must save each
other & save our mother the earth & nurse together at her breast.
Unloading the Corolla with the day’s gifts & thinking about returning to Goodwill for the Garth
Brooks CD tomorrow & now you know what is done alone in the car. Sometimes I release tears
of good intimate memories & tears of joy for my daughter’s visit from the same moon & two
weddings drunk with happy tears & my eyes squirt tears of laughter dancing & rock & rolling &
tears sprout up against racial & social injustice in America & in the world & tears over an
emanate death of someone I dearly love & tears of being one with the Creator & God is still God.
I cry tears, alone in my car.
Cynthia Hibbler has a wonderful husband and two beautiful adult daughters. Her poetry has appeared in two additions of New Voices, an Ivy Tech Community College yearly journal, The Indianapolis Review and the Oldtimers’ Grapevine, a Disciples of Christ Newsletter.