Noir, or Imitating Tom Waits

Women draped over pianos
like spilled drinks,
wearing push-up bras and corsets,
trying to become long-stemmed
wine glasses.

A midget in a black suit
paints shadows on the floor;
he has Peter Lorre’s eyes.

Breath smells like cheap scotch,
men with broad shoulders
and smoke for bones
sit at the bar and peel their squints
toward the door,
while cancer leaks from their pores—
a fog gathering
beneath fedora brims.

You could find love here
like a tire iron to the shin,
ivory keys tinkling minor chords
in sync with rain against the windows,
glasses sweating rings
onto table tops, translucent scars.
Everyone pretending to be
someone else—
so many lost souls
drawing maps on bar napkins
to themselves, through themselves.

Jay Sizemore HeadshotJay Sizemore writes things down that come to him in the shower. Occasionally he sings these things. He’s been lucky to have his work appear in places like Prick of the Spindle, Red River Review, Negative Suck, and Black Heart Magazine. The last book of poetry Jay read was Blood Music by Frank Reardon. Currently, he lives in Nashville, TN, and reads submissions for Mojave River Review.