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Words won't come.
Had little to say today,
yesterday, last month.

Do muses take vacations?
If so, I hope she's in Malta or
Montana or Pittsburgh - places

on the bucket list that grows
shorter. Why couldn't I write about the
Asian woman in purple rubber boots

at the Chelsea station, loudly asking
the guy with earbuds for directions or the
red fox in my dreams that lives in the

fields that flank my friend's farmhouse
or the wounds that never healed from the day
in fifth grade when I went to school covered in welts?

        Amy Barone

Magazine Street

Leaving Lafayette Cemetery,
destination Guy's Po' Boys,

I traipsed to the famed street
lined with art and antique stores.

Too far to walk in the heat and hunger,
I stood for a bus, when he started

chatting, a fellow Pennsylvanian
and music lover, in NOLA without

his late wife whom he nursed through ALS.
We both wanted to hit Ogden Museum,

impressed with the idea of self-taught
artists' work on display. But I never

saw him again, and in those three
Southern minutes, formed a nameless memory.

        Amy Barone

Nineteenth and Sansom

My first love affair continued years later
at the old Warwick Hotel on the block.
Now condemned, it sits across from the

Emergency Aid Building that once housed
virginal girls new to Philly; a cove still shelters
Holy Mary who protects gals roaming city streets.

On the block lies Sophy Curson, the boutique
where my mother bought pieces for her trousseau,
classy clothes for the coveted Niagara Falls honeymoon.

Like mother's, my body remained intact, but few knew
we concealed continually violated souls. Echoes of
Marvin Gaye lyrics in my head, Sinatra in hers—
empowered by absence and pain.

                           Amy Barone

Swinging Jazz
(Inspired by bass player Victor Bailey)

A steamy July set the mood for jazz.
Victor Bailey's putting on a party
to tape music he adores.
Doesn't have time to wait or waste.

Dropping our Manhattan cool, we give in to
Brooklyn's pull-air and space, Shapeshifter Lab's
wide white room, walls splashed
with vibrant murals of musicians at play.

Fans and friends jive to a booming bass.
The ensemble elicits a high.
Drummer Lenny White carries the beat.
Alex Foster's horn seduces.

Mino Cinelu on percussion creates magical sounds.
Sweet guitar licks fill the night.
A flirting filmmaker records the show.
We salute the moment with Spanish white.

Victor basks in rhythm and swing, inspires
and energizes. A sapping illness lurks,
but Victor's faith and funk drive his spirit.
A spontaneous family formed. Ready to dance again.

        Amy Barone__