In the bedroom where he spent hours blowing
his bop and swing, I grimace with the blues of a body
broken in clubs where smoke misted up
from tables and knives settled old scores;
where the unemployed sat like so much shattered glass
swept up and unused, discarded by the higher-ups.
My tongue still tastes his whiskey on the reed, the chewed grooves,
the sigh and growl from my gut bleating
I’d never die for my art, B-flat, wondering
which dents struck the loanshark’s head
and which were the result of his own drunken fingers.
It’s almost a parable within itself, this heartbreak
and debt, this longing for the wrong thing.
For a chance to play his sax, at the end of the night
He’d scrape his tips into his pocket and listen
to the sound they made on the way home.
Emilio Iasiello is the author of a short story collection entitled Why People Do What They Do (Deer Hawk Publications, 2013) and a nonfiction book, Chasing the Green (FEP International, 2008). He has published poetry in several university and literary journals and written the screenplays for five independent films and short films, and has had stage plays produced in the United States and United Kingdom. A cyber security expert, he has published several articles on cyber security in peer reviewed journals. He lives in Virginia.