Hotel Krupa Lounge
The desk is vacant. She slumps in—damp, sad
from an old bop tune that never leaves her head.
She looks for mail. Sees none. Hears one rogue note—
a piano. Then she feels she’s not alone.
Elevator buttons get pushed. The mean guy
from three. A second note that almost sighs—
a low C, she thinks, coming through the wall.
They climb in the small cage. He smells of salt
and fish. It’s a waltz tune, low keyed. The whole
ride up she knows it. Wants to sing it slow
and blue. Guy steps off, uneven, at three.
She waits for her floor, punches L just to see
how long that wisp of a song can play on.
It circles her from four all the way down.
She leans her ear to the wall just beside
gold mail boxes. It’s there. She feels a slight
vibration from a bass key, Hears a click—
a foot tap, a cigarette getting lit
somewhere within plaster. It’s “Danny Boy”
now, very soft and slow. Another guy
enters. The pipes stop calling. She believes,
for now, at least, a hidden lounge, unseen,
unseeable, lives in a room with no door.
Maybe next to the shaft. Someone performs—
Only at night? Never noticed. Who else
hears keys—that Bill Evans touch. A bell
rings. Elevator’s back. The dark notebook man
walks out. Doesn’t lift his eyes. His hand
writing, writing all the time. Can’t keep a beat.
She’ll ride down and up all night. She won’t sleep.
Mark J. Mitchell has worked in hospital kitchens, fast food, retail wine and spirits, conventions, tourism, and warehouses. An award-winning poet, he is the author of five full-length poetry collections, and six chapbooks. His latest collection is Something To Be from Pski’s Porch Publishing. He can be found reading his poetry here: https://www.youtube.com/ @markj.mitchell4351