Blue Jukebox

She passed through the beads dangling in the doorway. Echoes of beads rattling, like glassy cricket bones crunched, her moving forward, stopping at the counter, men’s heads turning, as if on rubbery swivels, none say a word, wordless the men burn yawn scratch at reposing parasites—cerveza por favor—she says to the bartender with the oily sheen, drops of it pooling in the ruts grooving his forehead … her eyes dance about the room, wooden signs hanging here and there, a ceiling fan circulating a pathetic breeze, and then in the corner, a hulking blue jukebox. It played only sad songs. A jukebox whose frame was blue but there was also the blue of its moodspells, its bruised valentine heart…

When she was a young girl she dreamed of a jukebox that played only sad tunes. Now, she was nineteen almost twenty, and when the owner of the cantina, Jose, said his jukebox was stocked with vinyl that only played sad songs (Jose’s wife had left him, his wife had died, no one was sure which), and the girl, upon finding this jukebox, felt the world of flesh merge with the world of mist, a harmonious merger which thrilled her to no end, which made her believe there was magic teeming in this melancholic world, she only needed the briefest of instances to serve as puddinged proof … and so … here she is, feeding a dime into the slot, considering her selection, today I think … finger pressing the button … and out of the speakers crooned Elvis’s “Heartbreak Hotel.” A hotel made from diamond-shaped tears erected before her, a hotel draped in mist and amnesia, she could almost taste it, she gulped softly, winced, sipper her beer swallowing the bitter blonde mingling with the misty vogue of Heartbreak Hotel, the girl wanted to cry, yet she wandered through this world cryless, which made her sadder and sadder still, she remained dry, slate stone encrusted in baked desert—how red can red get, how blue can blue get—she played games with colors, it was something to do to pass the time, she wanted to die and return to the angels but while she was here … the song played, Elvis’s glossy lips flickering emerald majesty, then they became neon-gold eyebrows—imagine lips turning into eyebrows—the girl lived in an intermittent series of hallucinations, between hallucinations she wasn’t there, right now she is here intimately near to the real world blue jukebox, hips ticktock swaying, she was sure the men at the bar were watching her because that’s what men did, what they were programmed to do—who did the programming, she wondered, I mean the original programming—and the girl had no agenda except to listen to several sad songs, feel herself moving inside herself, full of flowers as if a funeral and fiesta were conjugating, and she saw Version C. of herself vividly scattering roses for all the women she would never be, for all the the lapses between hallucinations that left her stateless…

I dreamed a blue jukebox when I was a little girl and here is a blue jukebox in the real world cantina. Life is full of miracles … you just need to search with the right eyes, with the right kind of broken giving the right kind of forever to your rainy days…

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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