By Brett Foster
“Charge me to see in all bodies the beat of Spirit.”
– Richard Wilbur
Staying with you in The Loop, we made our way
through rain to BB’s Blues & Soups, between
Busch Stadium and the Mississippi.
As rumor had it, we’d meet up with some Brits.
We first met Hal in Tower Grove, and on the way
your lovely bride glimpsed through the wipers’ spleen
a bright green sign that stood as mother-ship
above the graffitied storefront church’s barely
attached siding, faded door. We missed out,
too busy watching the road as we daydreamed
of your church-plant planned soon for U-City.
Distinctively charismatic declared
that sign, as if the writing were a shout
heard from heaven to earthward, or verbal beam.
We might as well confess we had our fun:
not your run-of-the-mill charismatic,
we joked. No koine tongue or common sway,
we’re talking designer joy that fills the aisles.
Of course it was all very, very funny,
right? I totally forgot it all till later
at BB’s, when the sweet-bitter ricochet
of blues riffs soothed our ears and hearts. Delighted,
in between sets, I inched and pressed to the back
to the single unisex bathroom there,
and stood with ardent others for a while.
“Unisex” seemed out of place; “sex” just right,
though: overheated dancers in a pack.
A tipsy forty-something with platinum hair
begged to go next, and just as I said sure
she, citing an urgency to pee, kissed
my neck. Sort of weird, and she was a wreck,
dressed like teen pop-star in tank top, stilettos.
Before me, her tiny silver shiny purse
became a second message, self-resistant
follow up, bright moon growing in aspect.
Distinctively silly, that purse with sequins
seemed to animate the room, be a banner
signaling spirit— fearless, accessorized
wildly. I can’t explain it yet knew it so,
felt so comforted by the thought’s beginning
to breathe inside me. Our prior bluster waned,
and something like clairvoyance struck my eyes.
Returning to the landing, I saw flanking
the stage, high up, a pair of earnest engines
in the shape of ceiling fans that chopped the air
for the sake of those of us across, below,
filling the club with sweat, diversions, pain.
Last seen late autumn, churning blades spun
and made hopeful portions for everyone there.