….if she had looked up at that moment, his nurse would have seen his toes moving in waltz time to a tune that only he could hear. Through the willow window he could see the stars and the Moon and he remembered how, as a child, he would lie on his back and be overwhelmed by the wonder at it all. But now he was old and almost finished and yet he still could conjure a picture in his head of him at seventeen dancing to the Blue Danube. And that was his final thought before life finally took him back. If there was a God, and he felt sure that there was, then the music was some part of God – a sliver that rippled across the universe, an echo of God’s love, and to the man this was greater than all the wonders of the world. But if there was no god, then the waltz was written by an ape that had only recently walked upright and had created these notes while it cried to the stars: and that, to him, was just as breath-taking…..
The Dying Days of Savannah Highs
It was just as the sun was cooling, that through the slatted Louvre doors Analise had her legs spread from China to Timbuktoo. She didn’t care, least ways not when Reverend Blue was watching, just like he always did. She hit a mosquito on her right side but the effort was way too much for this time of day and so she flopped back against the caring softness of the pillow. The rush of air threw up a whiff of stale body odor but why should she care when she was young and she was beautiful and that was all it took. Least ways that was all it took this side of the river. She rubbed her top lip, the one that was prone to too much hair but she knew she was Greta Garbo, so she didn’t care. The little kid from down Sycamore Street stood in front of her and at first stared, then without asking he did his Charlie Chaplin impersonation. She raised a smile to let him carry on with his dreams but both of them knew he had failed. In the end she stood up and walked across the lawn as it spat out a vapor. It was August, it was Georgia and these were the dying days of the Savannah Highs.
Sundown On Main Street
The warm air blows off the panhandle for the second time that week, as the old wooden chair on grandfather’s porch creaks its way to salvation. And Brittle Andrew howls his madness and frustrations into the wind.
But there ain’t no one listening, not even God.He’s left these parts a while back. Somewhere out there in the Mississippi, an alligator, with wasted stealth, sits waiting on its prey to pass its mouth but it never will, least not this particular night.
And hanging from a swamp dogwood tree is the crumpled body of Leroy Shants who broke the code of entering the ice cream parlor while those troublesome white kids were taking a lifetime to leave.
The Pastor sits looking at his wife wondering how he’d got to be where he’s at, as Betty Sue spends the final hour of the day putting on some makeup she knows is all wrong and does what she always does and cries herself to sleep. Undertaker Boy swigs another sweet bourbon knowing that he’s jealous of the dead,and as my eyes welled shut, the rain falls on Mitchell County and washes away the blood.
Main Street has made it through another day.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised……..
…all the junkies and the rat-runners broke curfew that night and some even tried to jump the wall. There were three noises that broke the quiet sky; the first was a ‘thuck’ as the dum-dum bullets entered the bodies and then blew them apart before they had time to scream. The second was the cries of ‘hallelujah’ as the lucky souls escaped over the bricks, some ankle crashing to the ground on the other side. The third was the sad noise of those who thought they had made it, just a little call of ‘halle….’ moments before the sniper shot them through the head. It had become known as the Hallelujah Night and it lived long in the memories of those who were there.
What had caused it? Well the rat-runners and junkies had nothing left to lose – they had nowhere else they could go, except the other side of the wall.
Once upon a time there had been the working classes, who, for generations, had suffered at the hands of the elite and little by little they had bettered themselves. They pulled themselves up the ladders and made sure that their children were better off than they had ever been. And as they were concentrating on their lives, the politicians grew grey and similar until there was nothing left to separate them. And while the peoples’ backs were turned, the criminals came in from the east and ran in the vacuums created by the lack of government.
The middle classes grew fat and insipid and blamed everything on those on the outside. Then one day, a man came and told them that all their problems would be over if they ‘cleansed’ those on the outside. And when those troubles were gone, they started on the middle-classes themselves, picking off those with illnesses and those with weaknesses – and yet the people at the center were sure they would be untouched. But there would always be new rules created for a new elite, and in the end most lived on the outside. The junkies and rat-runners called it the Guillotine Factor – as the man who created that particular way to die, ended up (because of the constant rule changes) being guillotined himself.
So that evening, that glorious evening, when the revolution came and the souls of the crushed said ‘no-more’, they regrouped on the other side of the wall and knew that this was only just the beginning…..
bobby stevenson 2017