Inspired by the song "Ai Du" by Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder
The guitar, with a sound like that
Of blues stirred like silt
On the Mississippi Delta, saunters
Around the café. It rolls
Through the split shadows of blue and red
As partners alternate between dancing and
Scorching their throats with amber drinks
That clink like jewelry in their glasses.
The stage hazes in a swirl of
Cigarette smoke, concealing the dark man
Inwardly burning as he moans a sorrowful song
In a tongue from Timbuktu. Snaps and claps
Echo softly from the crowd, while cymbals hiss
In affirmation of the Mali man's soulful wail.
A woman with short, black curls like syrup
Swings her hips slowly through the fluid air,
The rouge on her alabaster cheeks
Melting under the weight of sweat and steam.
Lightly, she touches the onyx beads
Sinking into her collarbone, her fingers slick
With moisture. A sense of slumber fills the bar,
Trapped in the ribbons Of viola that ripple
Through the air under the singer's voice.
Still, the blistering melody tumbles under
Swaying silhouettes, an undulating mass
Of arms and legs divided into shadows
Of red, black, and blue.