Old Joanna Hits Her Stride

I must be losing my grip,

all fingers and thumbs

from the nights of white rum.

But the ivory keys draw me in,

rounded at the edges, smoothed,

rancid butter-coloured enamel

like the horse-toothed

bar-buttresses I serenade tonight.

I yellow in sallow rhythm-light

to accompany the décor.

Smoking Compulsory Here.

Thank heaven for the black notes,

I cannot tell my chromatic,

rheumatic, tallowed

fingers from the off-whites.

Still, there is a cooling warmth

to the beached bones

of this smoothened keyboard,

salt-scoured by my earthy tunes.

Only my breasts resist

this gorse-hued coarsening,

this mellow tan leathering.

I flaunt a paleness of them tonight

and taunt the limp, curdling drinkers

with my double-barrelhoused,

clotted cream Milk Cow Blues.

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