“Dream of the Old Town”


I climbed steep, winding streets – I passed familiar faces
my double bass was burning, someone planted a knife in the ribs
injuring not me, but the instrument – forcing it to tears
in panic, it begged for mercy
playing jazz standards

I received the warning, but decided not to run – I slowly admired
the landscape – random, out of focus
gray walls thrown on dusty lens
which mounted in sockets fringe illuminated
sidewalks in front of me

So I fought my way on finding old friends
who, sadly, misappropriated themselves – betrayed freedom
for the price of immunity – now laughing in the face
of yesterday’s idealists – who until now promised them
so much, discussing the morning with bands, seers & floor shows
drinking same young wine, fucking same old ladies
we couldn’t afford the whiskey
whores or flag ships

The barges were burning in the harbor – warmed our hands
lightening up the background, and in its nimbus
I proceeded to climb higher – there was no end to side-streets
& on every corner lurked a debtor, dealer,
or psychopath – all
people whom I knew
by many other names
came out from behind the scenes to look at the enactor
of primary roles
in macabre cabaret

Interestingly, I do not remember women – though only yesterday
one woke up in my dressing room
reading “Steppenwolf”
I didn’t know her name & lanterns were her quarters
that’s why she left so early – I kept shooting around on
a cold German camera
the “Dream of the Old Town” – I’m not even sure
who made me director:
from the beginning, I only had to act & wade towards
the antechamber of death
be a bass-outcast – the movie
affected streets, the music, not my heart
but I feel that it burns every time
when I meet old friends
to find out that only I was left,
yes, the only one, on the other side of the camera
with a sackcloth soundtrack

Copyright © 2012 by A.J. Kaufmann. All rights reserved.