Found Voice

It’s a hot summer night 
and the sidewalk still steams from the day.
A woman walks alone on Third Avenue,
passing from street light to street light.
Her lips move in a voiceless song
that nobody else can hear.

Up ahead, a door lit by a bare bulb 
above opens into the night,  
spilling out swirls of smoky light, 
smoky music, and a couple entwined  
who pause beneath the awning next door
to kiss and then to stagger away.

The woman goes in and moves 
though the purple-lit haze to the bar.
A tall sultry blond in a too-tight black dress 
gyrates and sings about sex
as the bored-looking band on stage 
behind her plays badly along.

The woman orders a whiskey and
finds a booth at the back in the shadows.
Around her, the sparse audience drinks and 
smokes and talks a little too loud
while the sexpot on stage moans and grinds 
her way to the end of the song.

The singer finally finishes, and so does the spotlight. 
The stage momentarily goes black. 
From out of the darkness, a long, 
slow, piercing wail calls from the stage, 
and the patrons turn to answer 
with sudden silence.

As the weak spotlight comes up, it settles 
on the guy with the hat and a muted horn.
His horn at his lips, he blows from his soul, 
and the notes move out through the room
To find the woman in the booth at the back, 
and slowly they enter her heart.

It’s a hot summer night and in a dark, 
smoky bar on Third Avenue,
A woman sits alone with her whiskey 
in a booth at the back in the shadows. 
A lone, crying horn gives voice to her song, 
and everyone’s heart weeps along.

Written for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry.


  1. You cast a spell when you wove this sonnet, this moment-between-breaths. The flow of the piece, the untold stories, the hot summer night and smoky bar... a tapestry with a thousand textures.

  2. wow...that painted such a vivid picture...its was graphically brilliant and extremely well written too....thanks so much for sharing with One Shot..cheers Pete

  3. Great picture protrayed here...I can not only see it but feel it and that makes a piece worth reading. The smell of the whiskey, the only blessing the sounds of the horn inbetween the hell take this woman has created for herself...nice read..bkm

  4. wonderful read..nicely written!

  5. Felt like I was there in the smoky bar listening and watching. Vivid and wonderful poetry. thanks for partaking in One Shot!

  6. ah, glad she found her song...you wove this together with excellence patti...love all the textures in how you describe the scenes...very nicely played and thanks for linking up with one shot!

  7. Moody and stunning in its imagery. Excellent.

  8. Very moving and touching in her singularity, until the special one finds her. Such a unique and beautiful poem!

  9. "A lone, crying horn gives voice to her song,
    and everyone’s heart weeps along."

    A perfect ending I can hear the lone note being carried on the wind to my ears. Beautiful.


  10. This really came alive for me. All my senses were stimulated. I can see the woman, smell the smoke, hear the notes, and feel the hot summer night. Very nice, indeed!

  11. Thank you, All, for your kind comments. There is some music that never fails to make me see a smoky bar in my mind's eye. I'm not sure just what that says about me. A dissolute past life, maybe?

  12. PattiKen, this was lovely. So evocative...and I think I totally understand what you mean about certain music transporting you somewhere else. I won't comment on the dissolute past - lol!

  13. music emanates for the soul - a horn can carry such a woeful sound
    you poem resonates a feeling and a sound that is hangs there Patti

    I was entranced by this piece - wanted to find 3rd ave.

    Thanks for all your visits today and being there with us at 1 Shot Wednesday

  14. This was sad, deeply moving and unnerving... beautiful nevertheless! How a perfect start had a perfect end, and how the perfect stanzas made for the rest...
    Lovely execution of a perfect plot!
    I realized that I was waiting to get to the next stanza, to see what's gonna happen next!
    It was really a sigh evoking poem... very fine!!!

    Have a wonderful week ahead!

  15. Lonely images well written to picture the scene. You're good!

  16. http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/lovely-blog-award-plus-sunshine-comments-award/

    two awards.
    Happy Saturday!

  17. Woah-- The sultry descriptions nail the vibe of the night-- great read!


Thoughts? I would love to hear from you.