1954

by dm gillis

it rained straight for 78 days
in the winter of ‘54 —
a day for each rpm
of Chet Baker’s My Funny Valentine

and they all wore hats
even the beatniks
iambically kicking
the broken cigarette machine in
Van Gogh’s night café

it was easy to be a postmodernist
when there was still so much to say

by the 79th day, the rain had ended
and when the city turned off its wipers
a diva could be heard down an alley
standing on her amnesia stage
singing the dinner crowd ridiculous

there were ghosts in hotels
standing next to windows
in the neon blue of Os
beneath the aitches and above the tees
who’d disappeared
into their own dreams
and’d had their luggage
sent home

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