Her Bare Feet on the Stairs

As he fingered the paper he looked down at each page.  There were the goals, a country overview, a contact list of key players, and finally a general budget.  In his mind a plan was forming.  Jazz floated up through the open window.  He liked jazz because it told a story that he had not yet lived.  Older people could attach specific emotions to the rise and fall of the notes, but he was without that sort of history.  Moments went by too quickly and people were like photos in a book that he leafed through while holding a drink.

He was not really focused upon the damage he caused others or himself.  The dawn, where he woke up and realized that it was better to feel good than high, had not yet arrived.  For the time being, self-medication was the truth and that was enough for cheap hotels and the mansions of the rich.  Anyway, he was young and good looking and people didn’t seem to mind too much when he was uncaring and oblivious.  Knowing him was a bit like being vaguely familiar with the license plate of a car that had run down a pedestrian in a cross walk.  Life went on through the pain.  Secrets were kept inside waiting for the days to pass and the sound of a good jazz song to hit a nerve.

He pushed his shoulders back and imagined his hands running over the smooth body of the girl who often came around.  Her bare feet were light on his stairs.  He thought that maybe he would translate her breathing into an interpretation of what he was doing.  He would spy on her, steal from her.  She represented irony and rain drops upon flowers. She always giggled when he placed his head down and listened to her flat belly bubble.  He would look sideways across her ribs and through her breasts and at her face and the fine hair that spread across those lost, unreal moments.  There was the touch of heroin about her.  In the low-light she often gave him instructions on how to walk and talk and act human and she would say, “What are we doing?”

At night when they finally fell asleep they dreamt of eye sockets rusting in the rain and stupid men sitting naked in the mud.  Their heart rates fell and then fell again.  Downward passed the serpent on the sidewalk and the frozen doors that would not open and slowly the dark glass would encase their bodies and the sense of touch would no longer define their separate identities and then they would become one.

Sleeping with her was a bridge to somewhere confused.  The anticipation of her bare feet on the stairs began to dominate the night.  There was the sense that soon he would be gone and that was, in a way, a relief.  Running from something good was part of his homeostasis and from time to time he needed a blood draw.



5 thoughts on “Her Bare Feet on the Stairs

  1. I see poetry in your work, Duke. And I like reading it for the same reason I like to read poetry. It takes me someplace I haven’t been, like to a story I haven’t lived yet!.


  2. This piece is like a jazz song – I can hear the sax and piano softly carrying me back to those days we were not focused on the damage done to ourselves or others by our clumsiness; when the anticipation of bare feet on the stairs ruled our nights – gentle and day I say it – sweet.


  3. Some novels don’t translate well as an Audible. But Duke’s work would be awesome. Read by someone like Robert Redford. Or Matthew Macfadyen.


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