Michael Scott Cain
Artie Bleeker

Knocking back his fourth boilermaker,
Artie Bleeker, who tunes pianos
in a town that hates music,
stares at the bottles behind the bar
and says, "It can't be told,
there ain't words to say,
how much I loved
that girl. To me, she was a D-flat
chord on a fresh-tuned instrument.
Esoteric systems say D-flat's the prime tone
of the universe, you know?, the one that holds
it all together? Remember Art Blakey
and the Jazz Messengers ending that tune
with the whole band hitting D-flat?
All at the same time? That's the way it was,
just watching her walk to her car."
Harry Neel, the meter-reader,
takes in Artie with a tired glance
and staggers to the rest room.
Like the rest of us, he's heard
this tale before and knows that
wherever Artie Bleeker walks, you can bet
there's no love on that street.


"America #2"~ Photograph by Thomas Kearnes