Is It a Crime?


Bordello Blues. Her stiletto heeled strut, leaning from side to side as she approached center stage. Twisting and gyrating, her body going through the motions. Viewing the distance in her eyes, it was easy to tell that her thoughts were far, far away tonight.

Hounded applause gripped the stage with sweaty hands and folded currency—all eyes on her. She pays to be wanted. They pay to have her. This is her guilt offering to Love. Her redemption to be sought. Her rejected heart auctioning her body with broken spirit in absent protest. He would not have her gift so special, now as common flesh and fantasy to be peddled from hand to hand.

Looking into the crowd she sees his face on every man. In the distance a plaintive voice could be heard. “*This may come… This may come as some surprise, but I miss you.–I can see through all of your lies, but still I miss you.–He takes her love, but it doesn’t feel like mine.–He tastes her kiss, her kisses aren’t wine–They are not mine.”

The rush of air through the brass, just above the metronome of cymbals; The piano keys pace out stiletto steps; Driving the pain right to the booming voice of the cliff’s edge, her lips hovered above the clone.

With a full body embrace, a low hum vibrated through her twisting body, sorrowfully. A tear, exquisitely sweet, drops onto the john’s cheek. “*My love is wider than Victoria lake—taller than the empire state—it dives and jumps—and ripples like the deepest ocean—can’t give you more than that, but surely you want me back.” Her body yields to the soft question asked once again, “Is it a crime?”

With legs open and arms outstretched, her tilted hat covered her crying eyes. The song came to an end. Her routine, tonight, much too artistic and emotional also came to an end with her question left unanswered; left to haunt the stage amidst the smoke and dimming lights.

Is it a crime? This may come as some surprise, but I miss you. I can see through all of your lies, and still I miss you.

Is it a crime, that I still want you. …and I want you to want me too.

Is it a crime?


She heard him stirring behind her in the bed. From the angle of the sounds she could sense he was facing her now. She allowed her thoughts to have one more minute before turning her attention to him. Letting out a shallow sigh, she positioned her smile comfortably in place while turning to face him. “Last night was great, but I have to get an early start on the day.”

He turned his head to look out the window. “It’s still dark?”

“Like I said. I have an early start.” The shadows grew long in her bedroom. She locked the door behind him. Another night’s work at the club in the distance behind her. Another night finding her staring at the ceiling with a different guy.

His name was unimportant.

Even the room hurried to remove any memory – the sheets flattened themselves, the pillows fluffed their down. She was left to be lost briefly in thought…

I’m not partial to the activity
Just partial to our togetherness.
The intensity in the time lost to
Our shared forgetfulness.

She climbed back into bed. Feeling the size of the room; It’s sharp angles; the smallness of the space. There were very few options for escape available to her. He was there; still there, in her thoughts.

She reached over to grab her phone. Staring at his number with the harsh light staring back at her. Without dialing, she placed the phone to her ear. Listening to the unspoken silence. This became her routine every night over the past several months; time and space keeping her in orbit around the emotional trauma of the injury. He had since moved on. On some level, she was sure of this fact…

The bark lingers ever more upward
overtaking our speed.
Bridging the separation
conceding to the quiet, watching…
the infection spreading quickly, fevered
nights born from the illness, sweating
out the chemical
on, too worn, a sofa, the cushions
molded into submission
imprinted with its weight.

“Such a dangerous thing to do — to fall in love.”

After all sadness is its comfort food

She decided closure was needed and closure would be given. She began to dial his number.

“Would we know it was real…
if it didn’t hurt as much?”

But when they happen upon us,
they’ll see it was real,
they’ll touch the Oak,
and feel the wound made by the name
just above the heart

Smoothing their fingers along the rough edges
they’ll know our story
but I’ll be content here
forever, here, together
under night and sky

The rings were broken by a momentary silence. He had answered the call. “…Hello? Hello? Who is this?” Questioned a woman’s voice.

Our permanence forgotten
by a touch felled
falling away
caught up in the currents
of history’s news

The new voice; the replacement voice; the unfamiliar woman’s voice, in a knowingly calm tone said, “Sugah, it shouldn’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine.”

In that moment, she realized time had continued on. The sun still rose and set with all activity in between. She realized why the conversation over breakfast and the love making the following evening were void of color and flavor; anachronisms and ghosts. Though, the love felt real, he was temporary at best.

by malakhai jonezs

© Copyright 2016

*= identifies lyrics by Sade from the Song, “Is it a crime?””
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    1. Hi Fionn! I work best with music. I can see so much, remember so much, and then mix the emotion of the two. Thanks on the immersion drop comment. I can tell you listen to hip hop. I plan to go there more on some upcoming joints. I don’t know about writing a book. A collection of shorts maybe. Work my way up. Lol.

      1. The blending works well. And well deduced lol hiphop was my main passion before I got more divergent and I used to rattle about on rapboards posting lyrics and topicals or having text battles.

  1. I’ve always had a difficulty incorporating vocals into fiction.
    I could describe the music as sweeping as any serenade but it gets to a point I’m just throwing metaphors out there.
    I really like the way you combine the visuals, thoughts and lyrics altogether

    1. Nam! Thanks for reading it and shooting me some feedback. If I’m listening to music, I can pretty much funnel it into the piece in sentence flow and lyrical interleaving (i use the last part like thought bubbles). I’m not sure if it’s by the book for creative writing, but I’m doing more exploration with my writing with regard to graphical descriptions and the rhythm rather than exploring traditional styles.

  2. This is smooth my dude! You are sick with the narration – creating characters and making them visceral for the reader. I like how you incorporate vibes from songs as well – that Sade tune is one of my favorites, and definitely puts this piece over the top! Happy New Year!

    1. Bruh, I appreciate the feedback and the notes. Sade is my all time favorite. There aren’t many people who I want to meet in life, but she is one of them. Her and the band. Skilled as hell! Thanks for reading my dude!

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