Last Night of Verse by Michael Berton

 The microphone hums. Its shadow flutters on the page, a circumlunar echo resonates emanating from the readers printed word, calibrated rolling redolent off the tongue, quenches the mouth. Moist to the ears, the chug of the last train that night for the West Coast pulled in all debris of sound. Along with the waitress’ last call for service among a scattered dozen remaining on the bougainvillea-filled patio.

He was the last poet on this eternal spring evening. As he went further into manuscript, tequila tracers put an edge to his voice. Words placed into pockets of dead space difficult to absorb. His clenched youth faded subtly, gesticulating upon the incremental fissures that wrought him into a swagger of an adult angst attitude. Too hip and dowsed in wounds, he peaked on stage.

As the poet lingered on his last stanza, whispering to the audience, gravitas, voicing his final line. He pulled from inside his blue jean jacket, a silver-plated relic of a pistol, placing it on the lectern where his poetry idled before caterwauling off the page.  

His great grandfather’s rustic pistol, not used since the Mexican Revolution. Where on his last night of verse, death by his own calloused writing hand, in a private meeting place on the other side of the border. Where he, a Mexican general, had been known to leave his command for an evening once a  month and ride his poetry side-saddle along the grave-marked river and cross, escaping a tumultuous honor.  

He was looked upon as a sprite poet warrior, wearing a tweed coat of grey and a guayabera of white cloth, where a bowtie hung a loose grin around his neck. All purchased on preceding trips from a Chinese clothing merchant. All part of a Paso del Norte exile where his verse was erudite and blushed with shavings of wit, imposing a sanctimonious stance towards the Americanos at the reading, beckoning to prove his distance from the macabre scenes of a schismed country. To atone conscience in a foreign land in seclusion of the muse. 

The poet surmised another end stop. Where he writes manuscripts to posterity  choreographed with imaginary bullets to carry the weight of the commotion of his spinning globe. The philosopher’s stone in his eyes bled the realm of mystery. A few strangers applauded in recognition.              

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