Seashells in Your Pockets


I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back

There they are…  The ocean waves falling in on themselves against the shore.  Racing – rushing into pathways – swirling inside dug outs –  the water was frothy, gritty, and brown.  The sound, rice krispy, beneath the sand as the water receded.  The rhythm oscillated back and forth against the porcelain of the shell.  There behind it, the brass blew a nasty hook, looping and building, but never letting him go.  He leaned into the notes; leaned into the hypnosis.  The bars flooded over him, pouring images of the Hypnotic, Exotic, Brown, of her, into any available opening – his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

It was a day exactly like today.  He topped the hill, shifting gears before a grand march of street lights lining the blacktop like paparazzi.  Catching the light, the starburst traced a path from the front of the bike to the back.   Waiting at the top of the hill, with wheels turned outward, a patrol car perched on its haunches. Shit! Kick it down.  He told himself as he hurried to drop his speed, ever keeping watch on the patrol car from the corners of his eyes.

Reaching the bottom of the hill, he turned and spotted her.  She was turning through the intersection. The top of the car was dropped. The wind caught her hair, holding it, fingers running through it, while she sang. Brown eyes. Dark brown hair.  He thought to himself, There’s something to be said for a woman singing love songs with the drop-top down.  Smiling like Springtime, not caring if anyone else is around.  Sultry and sexy, she commanded the machine with authority as it disappeared into a parking garage.

Oh well, another time, another place.


He opened the door with the light spilling out onto the street, diffusing into the Day’s light.

I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back…

Like a locomotive gaining speed, the trumpets set the cadence while the drums marched on the in-betweens.  Men in tuxes draped by silk scarfs criss-crossed the room arm in arm with women in flapper girl costumes.  They milled through the roulette and black jack tables with glasses in hand, on tables, and pitched near lips.  Smiles reflected the light in every corner of Ray’s Sugar Shack.

Nearer to the stage, people crowded the floor in the amp’ed atmosphere.  Fingers snapped, arms reached, and feet hopped, scatted, and slid.  One after the other, the sax, violins, and flute took turns leading the floor, before the trumpets and drums returned with that wickedly building beat. He did a double take.  Is that her?  No way.  He saw whom appeared to be the Hypnotic, Exotic, Brown from the convertible moving through the crowd. There!’

“Fifteen black!” yelled the house.   He rounded the nearest roulette table. Passing by a few chips, in mid-flight, thrown into the center; flicked from nervous fingers walking one stack of chips from one hand to the other, in slow motion.  The din of the crowd was thick. The hive was alive with the noise of a thousand conversations and laughter.  Despite his speed, he lost sight of her near the bar. The place felt twice as large in the reflection of the mirror behind the bar. This might take some time.

He asked the bartender for a rum and coke. Pausing for a second because it wasn’t his drink of choice, but rather his drink of image. “Change that – Lemme get an old white guy.”  The bartender looked at him quizzically with annoyance.  “Sorry, I meant a white Russian.” Loosely attentive, he’d forgotten to use the more commonly used term. Where he was from asking for a white Russian was usually followed by the question, ‘Isn’t that an old white guy’s drink?’ Hence the name.

He dropped two singles on the bar excitedly, with a head nod, “Tip.” Looking out into the crowd, he resumed his search in pursuit of the Hypnotic, Exotic, Brown.  He took a couple of sips of his drink.  Shit!  With disappointment, he inspected the glass for a trace of alcohol. This is weak as hell.  He’d have to raise his courage organically. Pushing into the crowd, he made his way to her last sighting.

Standing near the back of the room, he scanned the crowd when he noticed a silhouette moving across the stage in darkness.  A woman approached the front of the stage, emerging from shadow, framed in feather and tresses that shown like a corona under the light.

It was her.

“Everyone, please put your hands together for Simone!”



I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back…

The mood of the room changed as the crowd turned their attention center stage. The music shifted tempo: Slower, sultry, and intimate.

They both emerged from the music box.  The ballerina and the beat.  While the melody twinkled and turned, she stepped forward, placing her legs, one by one through the slits in the fabric.  Her left hand curled down, out, and flashed.  Her right hand curled down, out, and slid upward from her waist.  Her index finger caressed outward, framing her face as it traced her jawline.  Her eyes, intensely focused, read the faces for responses.

The drum beats swayed back and forth with the movement of her hips; moving in a serpentine hip roll. The guitar strings salted the melody.  Her movements fluid with purpose as each foot found placement on the first and slid to the second.  She was graceful in flow, perfectly marrying together fabric and feather. Symmetrical in pattern, they followed behind her movements, rippling and expanding in volume; accentuating and adding punctuation to her statements.

Lifting her gaze upward, she unfolded her arms in the spin. Coming to a stop with pointed toe exclamation, she waved her arms over the audience, casting her spell.  They had already succumbed to the influence and power of her feminine; of her strength and grace.  Pliable and ready, they awaited her command.

Just at that moment, the lights turned out on everyone else in the room for him. He caught her eyes resting on him – returning to him time and again.  The artistic craft of the Hypnotic, Exotic, Brown was shown as she turned, flexed, extended, arched, and moved across the stage.

She locked eyes with his and mouthed the words, “Estas listo para mi?”  It took several minutes to register the clapping of the crowd; register the ending of her dance.

Her melodic imagery is hypnotic.


Unexpected, unforeseen
Only in a dream,
Capturing the imagination,
Imprisoning hearts with such machinations.
Exotic and rare
Dumb hearts she’d ensnare
Angle or devil?
Be a little more original
Be bold if you dare
It’s vulnerable
Give a care
The heart’s in danger

I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back…

Exotic is what they called her. Rare. Noticeably a mixture of “other.” She always got the sideways glances while people searched for the right taxonomy.  Something she’s heard all her life. A mild irritation and on rare occasions fully taken advantage of.  The Hypnotic, Exotic, Brown settled next to him at the bar. “Bartender, let me get an orange juice and vodka.”

Disguised in garments of nonchalance, he moved to give her more room.  Looking over at her, he gave a glance, then a second glance.  Hoping per chance, their eyes, like fated lovers, might connect. The bartender placed the drink on the counter. “Eleven dollars.”

He leaned in and dropped a few bones near her drink. “I’ve got this.” She turned to face him. “Thank you.” She took a sip. “Just so you know. You didn’t buy any conversation or anything else with that gesture.”

He said, “I fully understand and wouldn’t have it any other way. But let’s be real. We shouldn’t have to play the role of adversaries when we can play the role of new friends.” Intending no disrespect to her curly locks and ‘Raisin’ in the Sun’ cornerstone stock. He was born to dig her style – East coast jazz and West coast wild.

She turned her body to face him; scanning him from top to bottom. She wore the look of a detective seeking an answer to the question on her mind. “You wanna know, if I’m full of shit. I can see it in your body language and facial expression.” He said.

Never breaking his focus he said, “Hey, whatever, it’s cool and no pressure. Whatever is going to happen has already happened.   I’m just catching up to the history and the experience.” He extended his hand. “So did we get the chance to know each or not? By the way, I am Socrates.”

She looked at his hand and then at his eyes. “So you are one of those players with existential, egghead type game. This is rare, if not original. The two don’t usually come packaged in the same box.”  He smiled in acknowledgement of her assessment, while simultaneously dropping his hand.

“You’ve been tracking me for a long time.”  She said, placing her drink on the bar. “I saw you when I turned into the parking garage.  Then, I saw you watching me while I was on stage.  Let me ask you a question.”  She gave him a sideways smile. “Serendipity?”  She tilted her head and shrugged her shoulders.  “Since you presented yourself as somewhat clairvoyant.  Tell me what happens next?”

She extended her hand and introduced herself. “My name is Elena. Elena Simone Jones.”


I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back…

Socrates squinted in the Sun.   The sea soaked, salty air blew past his face.  He dropped the seashell onto the sand.

“Hey, I was thinking we should go into town next. We should change our clothes, walk the streets, and find a local place to eat.  What do you think?”

Simone didn’t reply. He rolled over to look at her.  She had fallen asleep under the shade of the umbrella.  Sitting on his elbows, with beads of sweat rolling down his sides, he watched her.  The palms of a nearby tree slowly separated in the breeze;  passersby moved in slow motion.  Looking at her face, he watched her sleep. Cataloging all of her details, he thought to himself, I love the look of your face.  At rest. No cares. Your eyelids closed.  Your soul appearing at peace – just for a little while.  Someone who has always been just a little restless for as long as I’ve known you.  

The breeze blew by them, blowing the ends of the blanket out of the bag and her hair into her face.  He reached over, caressed her face and moved her hair to the side.  I love the look of your face when you are laughing.  Your face buried in your arms with tears at the corners of your eyes.  Laughing at some corny joke I told you just to see you laugh, to see you smile.  I see enjoyment in your soul and it refills mine.  A moment simple in construction.  A moment to forget about the stress of the ordinary, routine, and the mundane.

Stirred by the touch of his hand, her eyes slowly parted.  Her eyelids raised to half mast.  I love the look of your face when you are upset.  When the volcanoes are erupting.  I can show you that we’ll make it past any issues.  I could walk you around the world on descriptive prose or imaginative metaphors. Hold you with an image of the genesis of two made one.  Argue and arrive at the resolution together… THAT IT! That it ain’t big enough to separate two.  Or enjoy a lazy Nawlins evenin’ drawn with intricately wrought light poles and park benches.  Much more than skin deep can bring.

She smiled at him and said, “I think I fell asleep.”  He smiled back at her and said, “I love the look of your face.”  Always will.



She looked up at him and said…

Be my lazy Sunday afternoon.
Cool your troubled mind,
Submit willingly.
Everything’s here you’ll find,
Hold me closely.

Be my late night lullaby.
Starry skies overhead,
We’re inside the fantasy,
Twinkling above my bed,
Kiss me slowly.

Be my early morning sunrise.
Dive into my addiction,
Caress me gently.
Floating away on the emotion,
Fall in love with me.

Be my midday surprise.
Kissing you just so,
You’ve never felt this magic.
Let me bewitch your soul,
Never been touched like this.

She said…

Be my fragrant,
Rose petal shower,
Kiss me slowly,
Late grows the hour,
Caress me gently.

Be my everything.
Yet linger,
Hold me closely.
Stay with me forever,
Be my eternity,
Fall deeply in love with me.

That’s what she said…
Carried away on the melody from a seashell,
Caught just right by the breeze,
Counting petals on flowers,
While we looked out at the ocean.


Some fairy tale stories and endings are good for us.  The next time you find yourself on a beach and you come across a seashell, pick it up and listen to it.  Not only can you hear the ocean, but you can sometimes hear the theme music for fairy tales.  Seashells collect the good times in our lives that we sometimes lose sight of through the ordinary repetition of our daily life.

Keep some small seashells in your pockets as reminders of the good things that have happened in your life.


by malakhai jones
(c) Copyright 2016.

seashell img src:

juke img scr

woman img src:  (Josephine Baker)

bar img src:

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Beach image credits: my own



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