Invitation to Play

Posted on Apr 13 by SEASONS Magazine


Invitation to Play

By Ron Alexander


October’s first evening chill sends me

rummaging for my lined leather jacket,

donned last against last February’s freeze.


I hike through the Westside—Bohnett Park

(span the boulders at Mission Creek),

cross the Anapamu overpass—to State,


to discover under street lamps, sprawled

across walkways, bright upright pianos,

sidewalk odalisques dare me to pass

without giving them a glance.


Evanescent as an autumn jacaranda bloom

but not content with lavender solos,

ladies dress in tones that span

the spectrum—taupe, turquoise, terra cotta…


in designs—op art, abstracts, octopus, birds

and fish of no taxonomy, roses, marigolds,

dancing Day of the Dead skulls…


The tossed aside, once dour matrons recast

in new coats—exterior latex—and always,

those enticing black and white tiles

that draw out inner musicians like milkweed

lures monarchs.


Passersby with the touch claim a bench,

painted ladies come to life, suffuse

the damp air with their alluring scent—


Für Elise, Blue Moon, Blackbird, anything

by the Duke, tunes like tributaries flow down

to Haley, under 101, invade the Funk Zone.


Music, its forging a mystery to me,

no weekly lessons that revealed the magic

of rhythm and harmony and now, seeing

these old girls, rescued from oblivion, beckon—

a string inside quivers. If only…


Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.


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