Dancehalls of the Old West were
centers of what might be considered
fine art. There were no others.
“Music has charms to soothe a savage
breast, to soften rocks, or bend a
“Was it the Arnold?” the woman in large green overalls and a sheepskin was shouting out in the middle of 17th street, wrangling the traffic around her. “Or just the Edward, was it?” she yelled. “Or the Steven? Steven the Arnold...was that it?”
The Heineken guy was crossing the street with a hand truck of stacked beer cases; he was glad for her help slowing the traffic. Two early drunks were locked in a loud argument about boxing or racism; it was hard to tell.
A police cruiser arrived in response to a fender-bender in the middle of the intersection of 17th and Capriccioso, where a City pickup truck had rear-ended a taxi. The cabby insisted they leave the cars exactly where they had come to rest until the accident report was filled out.
Then, it started to rain, soft and easy to begin with, but afterward torrentially. Everyone hurried out of the street; the woman in green overalls huddled under the maroon and white grocery awning and the beer guy put away the hand truck, dropped the canvas panels over the cases and kegs of beer in their rows, and drove off.
The storm darkened the street and neon signs reflected in puddles and where the collecting rainwater lay in sheets on the pavement. Convoys of autos crept by, wipers going, leaving a thin weave of tire tracks in the wet.
The stoplights at the nearest corner clicked through their red-green-yellow, and red again phases, out of synchronicity with the lights at the farther corner. The weird rhythms of colored lights – click-clackety-click-clack – added musical syncopation to the scene.
The street level door between Raymond’s Shoe Shoppe and White’s Bakery opened and a man in an artist’s smock and black beret stepped out. He carried a large palette, the surface of which was rich in globules of brilliant oil paint, and a handful of brushes all maybe three feet long.
He walked straight into the street, pushed the bristles of a brush into a dollop of red and then into the yellow and with a wild, sweeping stroke upwards, he wiped a section of the sky into color, blocking out the rain. Then he dipped the brush into paint again, swept the sky again, and more of the sky turned red-yellow.
He put the end of a second brush into aqua-marine paint and then a little more yellow and some black. He swept the sky again and again, pushing the dazzling rainbow of colors higher up into the sky. He swept and dipped and swept and dipped until the cupola of the world was ablaze in color and the last bit of sun slid below the horizon.
I retired from university teaching and began to write poetry and flash prose. I published poems in such e-magazines as Shampoo, Review Americana, Tipton, Barnwood, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Blue and Yellow Dog, Shot Glass, Cricket Online Review; an e-chapbook in the 2Riverseries, “La Vida de Piedra y de Palabre,” “Five Episodes in the Navajo Degradation” in Lacuna, “The Turn of Art,” in Fiction International; and several recent stories in Fifty-Word Stories, Out of the Gutter, Thick Jam, Free Flash Fiction, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Spinoza Blue and Linden Avenue. Muse-Pie Press nominated me for the Pushcart.