By Sage Cohen
Paul says the Great American Music Hall
should be called The Great European Music Hall.
Its gold flourishes and imperial balcony feel more
like something you’d yearn for from across an ocean.
Nothing is named right in this world.
I don’t know what to call Paul’s body against mine.
Dancing, maybe, but that’s not enough.
It’s more like a question before it is born
gathering force among the margins
of what is already known or believed.
Paul has his hand on my stomach where my shirt rides up
and I press into the beat coming through his chest.
My hips rotate with the room. Singular surrenders to plural.
Sweat and smoke and beer and bodies pulse in the darkness.
The music is a fire. Dancing is the flame.
We all depend on each other to burn.
Paul points out the enormous man playing the tiny trumpet.
All the big guys have small horns, we agree.
This poem was supposed to be about that. About the trumpet,
because that was how Paul and I planned it.
But nothing ever turns out the way you think it will.
The music ends, and then it’s time to go home.