The City She Sings Noir, Softly First & Then Without Mercy

by Matthew Burnside

 

rain eventually swallows everything. washes each baby into the gutter, embezzles all flame, every poltergeist in the acid key of C. the bitch city laughs, purrs violence wearing a leather jacket tethered in power line, Her stolen pulse stuttering stammering home with the wind wincing jook jazz at Her back, jackhammer locusts clicking underfoot burrowed into bloody sidewalk. the ripe madness curling, buzzing brainpans worming through muscle like a sack of soft rotten apples. floating reams of machinegun smoke mounting, excavating eyes, imbibing blue moths until teeth tremble, neon-nullified. & all the clouds with scabs, all the powder-faced angels pre-electrified. there are no phone booths left inside me, She slurs, no voices waiting to be dialed on the other end. the bitch city She slow-burns, Bogarts the night. rolls death into a cigarette & takes a big puff, says sit yourself down in the diner, chief. have a plate full of chalk, wash it down with a shot of broken glass. & then with your mouth full produces a sledgehammer from Her purse, smiles slant, flings a wink & says Goodnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Burnside‘s work has appeared most recently or is forthcoming in > kill author, Birdfeast, PANK, Juked, elimae, Contrary, Pear Noir!, decomP, NAP, and Danse Macabre, among others. He is the managing editor of Mixed Fruit, an online literary magazine (http://mixedfruitmagazine.com/). Beginning in the fall, he will be an MFA fiction candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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