winni9We sat for a second in silence surrounded by squeegee kids with tall beautiful Mohawks smell of marijuana in the air on the corner of Stradbrook Street and Osborne starving artists university students with their pointed shoes and spiky hair we was playing the slow lament tune wind whistling Dixieland blues, firetruck making its run old drunk walked out of sleazy hotel he stumbling poor desperate poor, punk rocker hand stretched out I gave him his bread man Barney adding a few coins we was hillbilly intellectual riding the death-ship unafraid bloody and cornered,

“Let’s forget about it” I said,

“I hear ya, there’s The Toad In The Hole, is it open yet, let’s have a dozen”

The Toad was an Irish pub I think Jake already there taking in the fumes could hear Louis Armstrong in the background Jake sitting in a corner by a window facing the Osborne Village with all the freaks parading their shit up and down the street while Satchmo played the blues, sorta dark place emblems from U.K. soccer teams all over the walls fish and chips kidney pie young people hanging out at the tables old guys at the bar, not kidding when I say Jake could have fit in to the early jazz era perfectly with that thin mustache cigarette dangling from his lips man insecure sneer hair thick as the devil’s, Barney ran to him they hugging while the music switched to Celtic room thick with smoke, we talked at light speed all at the same time words rolling off our tongues like spider-web fantasies, good friends listen closely while piano plays solo at the midnight serenade, cool cool movement running down Bourbon Street, love that clarinet she plays as I pack my suitcase Jack green-grass telling me shit doodle dandy, got the blues mama he tells her street corner hooker laughing in the rain, “you like jazz?” she saying “you like blues?” as I dance through the grim sunlight church bell ringing, feeling easy street under my shoes jazz-man old and wiry smiles crocodile beer and crucifix wine,

“…christ man (in mid-conversation), you’re like Indiana-fucking-Jones” Said Jake,

“Seen the world twice over” Said Barney,

“But do you really think you guys at Greenpeace are accomplishing anything?”

Music plays on feel Bessie Smith eyeballing me crotch heavy with sensation, two lesbians making love-electric, love-electric tornado valley brimming sexual movement that girl shaking her THING to that fucking crazy Ska beat ass rotating Wildman-blues, she slinks over red red lips wide open long moody thigh slips in and out of black dress, “what’s up baby?” she says old drunk leaning forward gives a wink and a smile “what’s up love-thing juicy?”,

“Look Jake, it’s not really about whether we’re actually stopping anything..”

“Well then what the fuck…”

“Let me finish…it’s about raising awareness to an issue so that the people with the real power will do something”

“You guys are both talking shit” I said,

Walking the sweaty Winnipeg summer streets man see the long-distance-runner copping a feel, see that old crazy broad on the corner giving head in rhythm bop bop bang, she got one tooth missing she beautiful and distant, hear the muted horn as it sings that sad note early Sunday morning, can you hear it? off-key love all there is, she banging those round wild hips all over the world, she got sleepy overbite mouth closing over it like rose pedal madness, you gotta see Paris in the moonlight she says, don’t give a damn about Paris I say her ass in my face telling me stories, touch her lips with mine softly explode while running the gauntlet,

“All I’m saying” Said Jake “Is that I can’t stand futile efforts that are really, really, just an attempt to appease your own conscience…it’s like someone saying, ‘I will not buy any stolen car stereos, that’s my part’…what the fuck does that do?…is that going to stop the theft of car stereos?…of course not…this is futile bullshit that solves nothing”

“You couldn’t be more wrong man, think what would happen if by setting the example more people, a lot of people, maybe even most people, would stop buying stolen car stereos? you see what I mean?”

“He’s got you there” I said ordering a few shots of Sambuca,

Waitress 5 foot tall big hips and breasts like the atom bomb brown eyes large beautiful round thighs genuine smile 18 or 19 years old T-shirt says ‘hug me’, who wants anything more I think, who deserves anything more keep the music going she fall down lovely she got it electrifying old man trouble we in love I say, oh yeah she says we cooked in lust cuz you know it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that yeah-yeah,

“I think both of you got it wrong” I said, “you’re missing the bigger picture”

“Oh yeah?” Said Barney,

“Yeah, all anyone has to do in life, their only obligation, is to live in character, to do exactly what comes naturally to them, know what I mean?…when you live OUT of character, that’s when depression sets in and the whole world goes out of whack”

Night always comes from a distance purple and grey, out in the graveyard the devil sings in the moody dusk he got the midnight blues guitar out of tune wails forever, forever lonely and beautiful she winks like madness, she smiles happy discord silent wisp in your ear goes nuclear baby baby baby please don’t go,

“Besides the fact that I get chicks from all over the world” Said Barney,

“You got me there man” Said Jake shaking Barney’s hand,

“Yum yum googly-fuck” I said,

“Tell him about Jasmina” Said Jake

“This tall French chick Barney, goddamn almost indescribable beauty man, sexy sexy, 18 years old”

“That’s a bit young, wouldn’t you say?”

“Normally I would agree with you but she’s different, very intelligent and mature, and experienced…it’s different in Europe, you know?”

“More mature than you” Said Jake wiry grin,

“Sounds funky” Said Barney,

“I’ll bet” I interrupted those fuckers “as soon as she sees you, Barney, she’ll make a B-line straight for you”

“I wouldn’t mind meeting her”

Then his head went down for an instant thinking about someone else, someplace else, she crawls into your mind nothing you can do pal, brain tilts to one side and slips out your ear tough-looking wise guy butts cigarette on the face of the world gone far far insane, slinking down that filthy back alley with the garbage cans like tombstones she winks goodbye, goodbye cuz the sky’s blue and lonely, goodbye cuz the punk-rock jazz beat can’t last forever, goodbye cuz there ain’t nothing else to do in a smoke-filled room but keep singing honest lies about love and hate as the sky turns red/purple and dances fat-ass wanting to the end of the night…

Tony Nesca