A Short- Short




Timothy Resau


I was constantly listening to the music ... listening for the music ... the music, constantly the sound, the ever-changing sound … I felt that I was becoming a part of the music, the sound.

Jazz. Manhattan.

Even I was cool.

It was just another bar in the 50s, West side—Manhattan, 1964. Miles Davis was grinning in the bar area, having another shot and beer … and talking to a thin redhead, wearing white silk; she was drinking a Manhattan and smoking Kools. Someone said her name was Pearl, but people called her, Buster.

Things went that way in Manhattan, 1964. The city was “The City” back in the day.

On the bandstand … Up tempo, Jack!... and the little, crippled drummer drummed … bam, bam, bam: — Hehehehe, from the sax in the liquor-induced background: — Hey, man, we’ll hava nuther round here.


The bar was full. People pressing to get by and through the crowd: — Hey, can we geta drink?


Guys in hounds-tooth suits; thin, black-knit ties; shiny Italian loafers—others are wearing silver-grey shark-skin suits, Cubin heels….


Cigarette smoke galore ...  three deep at the bar … booze flowing ankle deep.


BAM!... Another drum roll…. BAMBAMBAM….


 A sax going, hehehehahahe….


Ladies in waiting, wearing small black dresses and pearls … of course laughing through a haze of white cannabis…. It was beyond cool, way north of St. Mark’s Place.


After all, man, this here is New York City, January 1964, baby.


And off ... away ... a musical canopy above my head. Alice and John Coltrane were playing … Gerry Mulligan was having another drink with Frank O’Hara and Grace Hartigan.


My head arched, wavering; my thoughts needing the rescue music assures, and, indeed, a pleasure to be assured in any fashion.


 — O let it be known.


No secrets this dumb December 1965, just the beginning, looking back, and perhaps this is the beginning one has always wanted and waited for—New York City. Jazz. Off-Off Broadway. Smoky. Cool, even cold; nonetheless, another beginning—music constant, and winter the final brink of another lost beginning.


It’s now snowing in Manhattan. Silence save for the floating sounds of Miles Davis drifting down off Broadway on the West Side in the 50s, Manhattan. Blue January. Cold.


— O did someone say laughter?  Solid laughter?  Meaningless sound, a constant flow, musical language, and indeed the way some do laugh.


—Jesus, what-a-disgrace! Frank said, lighting a Pall Mall. I mean, this modern life….


Ah, a warm December, and after such a long year, a year that found Mose dying, lying, and in trouble with the authorities.


A full moon for Mose this December.... O God loves him so!


O blessed be thy name, etc., etc.


The smudged faces continue to pass.  More and more of them, so many, and each and every one of them beginning their own precious sound, listening to everything! Mose did.... He was cool. 


I had reached the point where my eyes had been seen in all the national newspapers.  I was found living in a 20th century junkyard, using dented fenders for a mirror, and there was no shine there, or anywhere—


I saw the usual walkers running in the rain. They were rushing up and down the city streets, looking for a cheap cup of coffee.


O the eyes looking for a home, a resting place.  It's to be seen everywhere, even in the hot anger that seeks escape—Catch the ones moving along the streets in another image of themselves, while the minds are casting the dubious questions:  Why?... Why Not?


© Timothy Resau 

Bio:  He is currently living in coastal North Carolina, working on a novel, stories and poems.