In the dead of night I’ll call you up and say:

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The only way to hear Chris Isaak is to
Go for a drive with the ghost of Elvis
Crooning through your precious Kenwood.
Tonight’s hours seem uncannily long,
And so I’ve called you up hoping
We’d roll out the red Buick Invicta.
The city is on the edge of sleep,
But you and I, still wild at heart,
Know there won’t be another night like this.
These hours will not repeat themselves
And by tomorrow’s inevitable sunrise,
We’ll both be less relevant than today.
So come to me before I drift off
To sleep.
You’ll be at the wheel, in control,
Your face aglow with post-work mischief.
‘So where to, Prince of Darkness?’ you ask.
I say westward is the only possibility,
Away from the sun, buying ourselves
More time in the here and now.
So drive –
Towards the obligatory city lights
Signalling life in the aftermath of
Daylight carnage.
But we won’t stop downtown;
We’ll whizz around all the
Metropolitan mundanities
And head out to the spectral zone reserved
For underworld figures like you and me.
About 10 miles from the city’s glass heart,
Nestled in a cluster of fan palms,
Is the famous Blue Hotel you may have heard of.
An art deco curiosity with
A sunbleached yellow facade and
Two stories of musty bedrooms,
Each one wallpapered deep blue to suggest
Otherworldly proclivities.
For it’s a subcultural belief
Once you’re inside one of these rooms,
The world of your origin will be nothing
But a sordid memory.
After the lanky bellboy bows out,
We’ll lock and bolt the door and
Spread ourselves out on the stony bed
Imagining
The sound of yesterday’s waves.
Time is rolling back out
Into the eternal nothing blue,
And you and I sigh at the impossibility
Of staying in one place.
Unwilling to wait for the axe to
Fall, I get up and switch on
The walnut Muntz
(But not before I’ve planted one last kiss
On your left shoulder),
And find Lana singing an elegy
To time lost not to be regained.
I’ll take it as a sign to go,
To step through the black/white snowy screen
Into that other dimension
– by myself –
Now that Romance is dead.
You’ll have to drive back alone –
Without the memories of us,
This blue room,
Or your former life –
And be prepared for the meaningless
Murmurs of the years ahead.

22.8.16  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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