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She had said it was "a hotel where artists go to die with a certain amount of relish. All right, I could give her that if it made her happy. Still, I would try to avoid her until all my teeth were sharp enough.
Suppers eaten too early. Spending a week hidden away in my hotel room. The half beat furniture. I sleep on the bed next to a woman created from unopened tubes of paint, piles of books yet unread. My hands shaped into fists and hidden under the pillows.
The phone too is hidden.
I kept it hidden behind the corner pile, the complete works of Voltaire. I would have to really listen to hear her call. Who would know?
If it was late, real late and Voltaire trembled, I knew it was her. The hours tip-toe towards dawn. Sneaking away from the carnage sought.
Dawn was always her magic hour. She had run away from home and lost her virginity, two past acts which had helped consecrate it. The tragedy now being how hard it was to find someone to fuck her and afterwards say something coherent which she could turn into a song at this most desolate of hours.
Occasionally, it would be I that made the call. For those times, she would win.
Once, while we were drinking the good stuff, I had some thoughts, like poems, of her magic hour. The secret of its strength, maybe, was from the lack of people, a sufficient number, trying to draw power from it, dawn.
Laying on my side, looking out the window, I watch daylight spread across the rooftops. Was I alone?
Dawn is always a beginning and an end, who knows what is carried through.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.