BE-BOPPIN' AT THE KEYSTONE CORNER
By Penny Kline
She and her boy be be-boppin' to the best of 'em
most every night during the North Beach jazzzz heyday.
Trench-coated and chronicle-ized Ralph J. Gleason penciled some jazz perspective,
criticism, and social commentary at the Keystone.
Cool cat Miles Davis, along with Wayne,Tony, Herbie and Ron
blew her mind and body with Nerfertiti,
enticing her sexuality, a-churning not yet fulfilled.
A beautiful woman has come. The pensive trumpet-graced notes, in honor of the
lady, with love blown sweetness into the smoke-filled club.
The head seemed like a paradox, like a jazz answer to Ravel's Bolero,
repetitive in form, yet never presented exactly the same, just like sex.
Saxophone glands along with tubed-brass arteries ebbed and flowed.
On a high note, her boy got the taste of perfection . . . when . . .
his hand brushed a hint of erotic eruption through her silk blouse.
Piano strokes quivered tenderly on her spine . . .
before . . . they glided down to her sensual tailbone.
Bass vibrations throbbed her bones, melding together
with his hand up her skirt . . . becoming one with her bare inner thighs.
Cymbals created a tingling circular rhythm so smooth . . . it felt like waltzing in 4/4.
The illusion began the moment the cymbal lightly tapped. Nerfertiti captured her,
moving up and down the intervals, in and out of modes and circling and
the fifths . . . until her loins pounded like the bass drum in ecstasy.
Dreaming Mixed Media Art (26" x 40")
By Christian DeLaO
By Penny Kline
trap me in your flimsy box.
Extract me through your contradictions.
Hide me in a dark cave.
Mold me with your sword.
Extinguish me in fire.
Pain is inside my muscles,
I will transmogrify,
shatter into solidity
and ride naked with the banshees
to Maeve's mountain.
My wounds will reflect the stars.
And my genteel soul will seek no mercy,
no mercy, in your heaven.
Photograph by Anne Bradley
O HOLY BAGMATI RIVER, NEPAL
for the earthquake survivors, Nepal 2015
By Penny Kline
Cremation ghats and stairs down to the river are full of countless bodies.
Priests are scarce. Her son is yet to be found. Scores of dead children
wrapped in orange and gold cloth wait in line on the ground for cremation
with relatives praying for their souls in heartbreaking anguish.
A small space is spied along the bank. She follows the men carrying you down
on a stretcher, piling wood on the ground and gently placing your body on top.
Kindling is gathered around your mouth. A man lights a piece of wood and
hands it to her. They depart in haste to help others.
She is left conducting your last rites. She prays, circling your body three times,
clockwise. She prays, lighting the funeral pyre, burning and purifying your body,
offering you to the Gods. She prays, watching as you burn for hours. She prays for
your honorable send-off, taking a holy river-water bath.
She weeps, her tears falling on the deep red flowers of her silk skirt dripping down
to your ashes mixing and swirling with the others. Your ashes attach to her hem where a
few loose threads wave that last farewell in the slow-moving current of the Holy Bagmati
River flowing down to Koshi to mingle with the silt of the impending monsoons.
She weeps, raising her hand to her head pulling off the matching head wrap spreading
it out gently on the river's surface. She envisions your crushed and splotched body along
with her body mixed in the deep red flowers of the watery reflection. She weeps,
understanding the earthquake took her husband. She weeps, having faith the Gods are
still among us.
Along the bank, the Pashupati Temple looks down.
She is praying: O Holy Bagmati River, purify me, and my people.
This piece was first published in Eternal Snow: A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty Five Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma.