Striped Velveteen Victorian Waistcoat

It is a bleak Tuesday; only one day past Monday, but too far from Friday. I’m dressed up to go to a poetry reading, listening to music at the corner pizzeria as I wait for my order, and wondering about romance; is romance our clasped hands in the dark? Is it a bouquet of periwinkle thistles, or sweet whispered words in the night? When I was 23, I thought I knew all about romance, and that it was love notes and damp palms. Now this has changed. Sometimes kindness seems like romance, but sometimes all I want is a nonsensical sweep of something big. I’m waiting for the pizza gal to heat up my slice while sipping a glass of water. I am wearing a brown and black striped and waled velveteen waistcoat, black velveteen jeans, short buckled boots, and an iridescent green and black brocade jacket. She brings me hot pizza, and I take a bite.
“E’er since Miss Susan Johnson lost her Jockey, Lee,
There has been much excitement, more to be;
You can hear her moaning night and morn.
“Wonder where my Easy Rider’s gone?”
Cable grams come of sympathy,
Telegrams go of inquiry,
Letters come from down in “Bam”
And everywhere that Uncle Sam
Has even a rural delivery.
All day the phone rings, But it’s not for me,
At last good tidings fill our hearts with glee,
This message comes from Tennessee.”

(Written by W.C. Handy and sung by Bessie Smith)

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