The recital hall is sedate, tasteful in buff
when the soloist strides in,
suitcase in hand.

He’s arrived from a broken down train,
hobo on a long ride
cross the Rockies and Corn Belt,

holding onto his dignity
despite the flounced collar
and Ziplocked mouth.

On the way to the party,
he has counted his dollars
acknowledging gold teeth
and blood stains, pulling himself up
by the bootstraps

to let the doo-wop girls in little
black dresses snapping fingers
somberly sing to his right.
The drum’s slow
and the bass, restrained.

Wearing a giant clown suit
and a child’s Halloween crown,
his left hand enunciates every syllable
to his baritone, fluid and flying

as he touches clown buttons,
ascending, knowing he is headed
to another train ride soon.


Photo by Heather Buckley