Poetry by Mike Faran

February 5th, 2016





Carl said he didn’t want
neon –
just good bricks & a door,
not even a sign

“Folks will hear the music
& maybe come in…
plenty people walking the
boulevards to

see a fuckin’ good jazz band
& drink bourbon –
neon juss a pile of bullshit!”

& ol’ Carl was right –
first night
there were people lined-up
along the bricks

waiting under a starry night –
sky & listening to a band
also with no name



Back room –
I sit & light a cigarette,
staring at my hands;
I can barely feel them

Doc says it’s neuropathy
probably pre-diabetic

I tell him there is
numbness in the fingertips,
can’t feel the ivories

How many years doc?

He shakes his head then
gazes at his shoes

Have you had a passion
in your life, I ask,
something so burning that
you would kill for it?

A beeper sounds –
time’s up he mumbles





We drank bourbon & listened to
Hank Gathercole on sax
cutting a throat
through heavy pink clouds of
cigarette smoke

Man was he cuttin’ it!
& all the while his feet were sliding
in & out
in & out

Then the snare drums crept in on
cat’s feet
light on the hide to save
ol’ Harold

Sometimes a man gets lost in his
freedom &
only compassion can save him






Cody spoke a different
saw different visions

Some say it was drugs,
others say it was
that woman in Frisco

But Cody was magic on
the drums
so few really gave a shit

When he played the hides
night-fires danced in
the sky and

the universe tilted from his
wild rhythms;

everyone spoke a new
language and saw visions
and that gal

from Frisco danced on the
Golden Gate



negro nights, 1957


the drift of blues filtered &
flooded my young world
& it was called “colored stuff”

but to me
it was much more like warm

simmering in big basins

placed precisely in different

parts of the night



Mike Faran lives in Ventura, Ca. as a retired lobster trap builder. He is the author of We Go To A Fire (Penury Press) and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. His work has been published in Atlanta Review, Rattle, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and Slant.

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