imageNews of the Flesh
Wendy Taylor Carlisle

In sweet, late August when a north wind
first insinuates October rot, any meat-
heavy breeze can sweat out neon,
smell of music, salt muck, cigarettes
& any jet-fueled band can lay back
on a contract: Pensacola, ten weeks
in a Motel Six, five players, four
small rooms. Behind the bougainvillea hedge,
the drummer & the bass man flipping
quarters for the room that has a door.
In weather like that, a dreadnought
calls up lyrics from each Southern Comfort
shot, the band plays late & stays awake
until the early news of war
& accidental death. News of the flesh
calls them to sleep in dirty sheets while
sundown melts the afternoon, & fans click
overhead. The audience is small and dull,
they say, the rent’s impossible and more
than that, past due. They ask each other—
weather, politics, the war, the blues—
what’s most to blame?
They say there’s nothing left
to do but scramble eggs and start again.