Jeffrey Alfier

Blue Notes for Fireball Whiskey & Ginger Ale

I lost my audience at the Scarab Club
when my solo sax got sloppy. Guess
I failed to fade my notes in fortissimo range.
Some ass in the Friday night crowd swore
I was washed-up, shouted for me to go back
to my day job – a shop rat turning bolts
at GM. The owner shook his head in dim
accord, a dirty change-up when he refused
to pay me for the gig. Hitting the street to find

my ride, a black cat didn’t want to cross
my path, not even offer the mercy of its shadow,
the fellowship of burning yellow eyes.
When I got back to the Temple Hotel,
my woman warmed me with the whiskey
and tobacco burn of her tongue, all a man
like me ever needed in a bad time. When I told
her about the Scarab, she glared at me
like a marked-down suit, said she couldn’t

handle me losing one more job. She left Spam
frying on the stove and walked right on out,
her pace quickening with echoes, leaving
me like Eurydice in the underworld.
So I picked up my sax, opened the window
to the summer night, and hit a few overtones
in Bb range, letting them weave into the screams
of Tiger fans cheering another win, my notes
and I, all the hunger an audience wants gone.

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