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Afternoon in Macao

Jazz in the afternoon

mellow briny sounds on the Portuguese piazza

near the museum dedicated to European clipper ships

that once carved the Chinese waves of Southeast Asia


Jazz in the piazza

where the slight breeze

rustles a deserted rickshaw painted tourist red

lying on the pastel pavement

a garish corpse

Tourists snack on scallion dumplings

and sip chilled vinho verde to fight the heat

as junks, sampans and cruise ships

sail silently by the Macanese shore


Jazz in the eternal moment

captured on film by tourists

jazz punctuated by the racket of firecrackers

exploding in loud fervent strands

warding off Chinese ghosts

and waking beggars

asleep in the temple courtyard across the street


Jazz to sooth the tourists, voyeurs in shorts

who glean what they can of the past

as they snap the decay of an empire on high speed film.

© 2024 Gail Tirone. All rights reserved.

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