Photos by Robert Reichert - Click for gallery



Fall 03


Musical Blue Gardens




Not enough all day, but all night, too. Under neon, a melody slips on and off, an alternating smile; now etching their faces, now reading. A musical blue.

An idea leads them into night. They banter, saunter, balance on curbs. Still a ways away, sound rolls from the door like a flood, the sea of their feet uncertain.

Champagne, keys, a culvert. The car dances forward, a sword, a constrictor. Music, a small rodent the size for swallowing, tiptoes toward them: a meal, misinterpreting.

Are they from Kansas? Indiana? Did they bring some money?

Her want to dance apparent, "?" she says, a look aslant. "Of course." The lean of floor leads them to the terrace. Grenadine, lemon, rum; all as lonely as a small civet.

A clarinet. Sax.

When it is nine. When it is ten. When it starts. When it is five.

The sun is low and agitated, a rope at eye-level. He points the car downtown, to the hole in the center. Down an alley toward a gap, emptying cans, dragging them to the bridge. They hold hands for jumping, and then they notice the music. It had followed them going and toward and to. It follows them over and down a hungry well.

Driving, dancing, the right hands of tantra dancers.

He is lost, he says. No other way to put things. She is pouty, fidgety on heels, slopping left and right. She agrees at a mutual door, tubes flickering the end of the street:

IVE USIC. Open all night.

He strains to hear, the way the Sinai sifts its little bits.

Under the house, on plastic dust blankets: a cat, another cat. The throes of spring writhe through households, raising their backs, their tails.

You see him move in bed. His fingers conduct intervals. His feet bloom minimally toward the sun. A dance under eye-level. At the pause, his lids bow, then they sit down.

When all the men go out to see the eclipse, she remains, lifting the ears of her headset rhythmically—music on, music off.

A tangle of tango dancers, close as knives.

They stop moving and let go, their backs to the band. There is a repositioning of chairs, the absences in them. Left-over notes stack up, napkins are bunched. Silence divides them like gauze. Skin, another slight cover, stretches at mounds and bends. Lines transcribe them up and down, into, and across. All of them are blue.


Kathryn Rantala's work appears, among other places, in 3rd Bed, New Orleans Review, Iowa Review, Notre Dame Review and many places on the web including archipelago, elimae, poems niederngasse, Eleven Bulls, failbetter, Locus Novus. Her book, Missing Pieces, is available from the publisher, Ocean View Press, or via her website: