Issue 22/23
cover photo of Louise Brooks
publication date 12/17/1983

The Roland Kirk Story

Paul Grillo

The mystery pipes have a voice like tobacco
Like turquoise mist in the trees
On the other side of silence
Where it’s raining a whole restaurant of tophats
And a cache of slinky maple breezes
Are trimming the small-change lamps of the blind

Move on over give the traveler room
Watch the working girls count the keys to their war-chests
And the bus drivers toy with their centerfold hearts

Let the Friday Nite nightfall fall on its knees
Burn a blue & rose tattoo through the roof
Break out umbrellas over the El tracks
Wrap the basement belly in a kerosene sheet

The fat old root doctor flies from his perch
On thin black silk threads
Taking seven giant tongue-in-cheek steps
Through the rebuilt ghost towns of Buttermilk Bend
Magnified a billion times
Like a plexiglass teardrop melting over the corner
In the green groves of Pluto
Three times a breath