Mark Sandman Collapses on Stage or the Transfiguration of the New Cupid

Valentine’s shots all around. Pair off; the drinks
are pink and pretty and so were you in the blue
glow of emergency phone boxes lined up
like a carnival midway waiting for me to lose
everything for one double-sax bass slide
moment next to you.

We could’ve danced
in that parking lot like we
should’ve danced at the Terrace
Theater back in ’94 as Sandman
leaned into his bullet mic, transmitting
electric whiskey sapphire truth into
the streets of Austin.

The room was hot for March,
but nothing like Palestrina in ’99.
We might have danced there, too,
until we heard the two-string Premiere hit the stage,
shaking loose our near kiss with a rumble
as we looked up to see his feedback departure.

But we would never dance in this room
where the piano chords have an urgency,
like crying. “Where are you going? Where
are you going?”

The bass walks
the backwards walk of running
toward someone leaving,
someone gone long enough
to be a sepia thought.

The Korean sushi chef smiles
as I give a thumbs up. The sashimi is good
but the bass could lose a string or two.

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