The Other Café

Hearing ‘Caravan’ by Duke Ellington

and I’m at the Blue Parrot in Casablanca:

the house bird perched outside

unfazed by whirring ceiling fans,

and the belly dancer’s creeping shadow.

The band playing jazz to a fluent clientele

leave the exotic bird unperturbed.

A street market unfolds under her gaze.

How simple the menu at Ferrari’s place:

pleasure, talk, a handshake, the deal.

No choice to be made about right or wrong,

ideals or love, one song over another.

Buying and selling is Ferrari’s trade,

attending to his business of the day,

the rake-off on sex, liquor, hookahs.

The patrons of the Blue Parrot,

each going their own way to somewhere,

outside into the busy street

heading for wherever home is,

or through the crystal curtain at the Blue Parrot

to the dark side of the mountain, desert.

Ghosts in the dream song here.