Listening To Julie London (In The Dark)

Phosphene shock of strawberry
                        blonde in the flawless

dark, blue irises the size
of LPs on the ceiling—I’m seeing

a pale T-zone, ghost lips of a lonely girl singing

Don’t they know
            it’s the end of the world?

Call this a midnight cardiectomy: my heart
excised by contralto

                        and floating supra-sternum.

That voice sends me up for existential grabs,
Julie—sung to by you, I get feeling like

I’ve never known a night in my life
            who I truly am. But it’s cool,

I’m cool with all that’s un-
requited, the torch song of self to melancholic

self. This darkness
                                    is a blessing, these

minor keys in your mouth a different
kind of Pentecost—deep cuts cutting me loose
                        from language,

tongues of shadow subtle as
                                    the edges of your black

strapless dress
that barely grace the cover
                        barely covering you.

Photo by Jesse Echevarria on Unsplash

Johnny Cate

Johnny Cate is a poet, blues guitarist, copywriter and an esteemed vintage T-shirt collector. He has recently finished his MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.