Day 9 of NaPoWriMo 2013 and today’s prompt is …. Today I challenge you write a poem inspired by noir — it could be in the voice of a detective, or unravel a mystery, or just describe the long shadows of the skyscrapers in the ever-swirling smog. After all, “you know how to write a poem, don’t you, Steve? You just pick up a pen and you write.”
RAINY STREETS OF THE HEART.
Hot neon lights reflecting from dirty slick sidewalks
A kind of shabby beauty he thought
Downtown? No place to be at this time of night.
He trudged on alone. Each step a memory
Sleepless city sounds assaulted his ears.
Police cruiser sirens. Like banshees in the night.
Blaring music from the 12th street Jazz Club
No different from any other city night.
He kicked an empty beer can into the gutter
Its rattling sound lost amongst the others
Loneliness tore at his soul as he walked on
Sadness too, tinged with a burning regret
He’d lost her too long ago
Days had become weeks; then months
He turned into the plaza
Passed painted cheap whores
Out for a buck or two. The whores ignored him
They were used to his nightly presence
No business from him. The walking man.
He smiled as he walked by
Just a barely discernible upturning of his lips
They were as lonely as he.
Distant shots rang out
Echoing in the humid city night
He paused to light a cigarette.
He remembered her leaving
It still tore at his heart
His fault or hers?
It didn’t matter anymore
No more tears, she was gone
And on he walked.
Across the plaza. Shuttered shops
Decorated with torn posters and graffiti
Sounds approached. Racing engines
Police sirens. Red lights; blue lights
Strobing the crumbling plaza walls
A beat up Ford in front of the cruiser
Wheels fighting for grip
Engines screaming in metal torment
The smell of burning oil.
He pulled up his collar
As they disappeared into the city streets ahead
The warm damp wind blew from the east
As he turned for home
The streets now deserted for a while
But city sounds still rode the night air
His finished cigarette sailed away in a glowing arc
Extinguished in a gutter still wet from the rain
He shrugged. It reminded him of love.
Glowing so hot and bright before dying
He walked homewards
As the street returned to a kind of desolate desertion
The music from the clubs played on
Police sirens howled in the distance
The man was gone.
© 2013 Stan Rogers. All rights reserved.