Ash in the Pages
by Daniel M. Shapiro
The sneaks and snitches made this happen. They sold the secrets of time door to door, ruled the apartment complex with a musician in every other window. If they didn’t like a man, they would slip him a mickey, watch him go from grope to marriage to baby to affair to breakup in a day. Fueled by the shortening of seconds, bands loudly turned planets to shrunken heads. They drew the attention of the powers, who boarded up the complex, tried to torture out truths but couldn’t lengthen the pain. They had no way to infiltrate memories. All they could do was lock up the hooligans, hire drum machines off the street, pay top dollar for the most beats per minute. The new music would play at factories, where workers would tighten clamp tighten clamp tighten clamp to the relentless thumping of innovation.
*Title is a lyric from “Black Coffee in Bed” by Squeeze (#51 on UK Singles Chart, 1982).
Daniel M. Shapiro is the author of How the Potato Chip Was Invented (sunnyoutside press, 2013), a collection of celebrity-centered poems. His recent work has appeared in Rogue Agent, Hermeneutic Chaos, Maudlin House, Unbroken, and elsewhere. He is a special education teacher who lives in Pittsburgh.
Image: Dance of the Soldiers, by Edmondo de Amicis.