Bad Jazz

I’d suggested brunch
because I thought a daytime place
would be quiet, civilized
but I didn’t anticipate The Esteban Choi Trio
playing unrecognizable jazz standards
while our eggs get cold.

My dining companion is beautiful and kind
and I thought she might be wise
but I could never understand
her softly-spoken words
in our normal settings.
She looks wonderful across from me
but I still can’t hear
much of what he says.
I have already used up
my allotted collection
of "What"s, "I’m sorry"s
and "Could you repeat that?"s.

She is asking
with her eyes
assorted questions
and since I recognize mouth movement
of some of her phrases
I take a stab at conversation
hoping that the words I mumble
actually respond to her queries.

I pride myself
on quality conversation
but this meal
with this girl
is going awfully
– or maybe awfully well.
I can’t tell.
At least she hasn’t stormed off

I wonder what we’re talking about.

Esteban just announced
the combo’ll soon take a fifteen minute intermission.
Maybe now I can –
When she comes back from the bathroom,
we’ll pick it up.
We’ll have a laugh about the awkwardness so far.
She’ll understand why I explained my middle name
"Somewhere on the Upper West Side."

As soon as she comes back
our conversation will be scintillating
at least for the few minutes
before the band strikes up again.

I think that my ENT
told me to get a hearing aid
but my back was turned
at the time.

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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