David Saltaire

Rookie (1957 / Palo Alto California)

28 Degrees - Poem by David Saltaire

28 degrees
So cold in the underworld
28 degrees
Cold and dark in the underworld
Thoughts as hard as ice cubes
Hunger sawing through my skull

I went out to look
For that friend of mine
Went out to find
That old friend of mine
Looking for his fingers
To warm my flesh tonight

Now there isn’t a man alive
Or a woman in her prime
Who’ll turn down a little warmth
Or a kind word or two
But since I’m on my own
I watch the evening news
Shake my head at all the headlines
And wonder what to do


Its 28 degrees
Above the little city of lights
Its 28 degrees
And I wonder if I’ll last the night


When Bessie sang her song
The world would just slow down
The sag in her deep, deep voice
Would turn this town around
But Bessie isn’t here
And Lucie Bogan no longer shines
the downtown looks so empty
With all these folks around

Oh 28 degrees
The air is crystalline
It stabs you in the fingers
And robs you until you’re blind
The old honkytonk piano
Is shivering in the back
Pops can’t blow his horn
After his heart attack

And everybody’s moaning
In the inky midnight freeze
There’s no life in anything
When it’s 28 degrees.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, December 24, 2011

Poem Edited: Saturday, December 24, 2011


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