#114 Blues

by Clare Kirwan

This is such inappropriate music to die to. I’d have chosen a different sound track—something rash and twanging with affront, more like a scream.

But here I am bleeding to Benny Goodman, a toe still twitching along even as my blood spreads in a sickly circle around me, wetting my best frock and staining the floor. I’m embarrassed for a second, then distracted, because here comes a cornet—a little wail for me, more in keeping. Then the huff of a trumpet drowns it, gasping for breath. It’s been a jazz funk evening of coloured lights, broken glass, men with suits sharp as wisecracks. Such a cliché. I’d choose Louis now for irony—Mack the Knife, or the saints marching in. I don’t feel saintly with my skirt pulled up.

These old tunes are gone so quickly. Here’s scratchy old recording like it was piped directly from the memories of the drunk over there who holds onto his empty glass like it was a rock in the ocean and he never learned to swim.

“I wonder why I’m all alone nights?” sing Bix’s buddies, relentlessly cheerful. Meanwhile I’m dying like a movie floozy as the credits rise. The names of those involved slip over my prostrate cleavage like a lover’s fingers. Pretty soon you’ll find out who was in this, who directed it, who shot it. The end. The tune lingers like it hasn’t a home to go to and then there’s a low crackle. Dust on vinyl.