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By Connie Johnson

Today I thought about the time I saw 

Carmen McRae in a shoe store in West Hollywood 

20th century siren but not unapproachable 


I thought of vinyl records, mood shifting from tears to a smile 

That’s a gift, her voice a shadowy dream: (Same old dream … 

And approachable, like dreams can seem to be



Vinyl record, a penny on the needle to keep it from skipping

Picture a sequined chanteuse at the mic and the way she sang the words:

Same old dream.  It evokes longing, cigarette smoke, ghosts on a train 



Some dreams will outlive us all



But now a good question to ask is: what do my feet look like 

In these high heels with no pedicure? And does this store carry 

Seamed stockings  / black like I like them? 



I like these kind of distractions 

They take my mind off unanswerable dreams

Notes floating like cigarette smoke, fragile steps 


In too-tight sequined heels

Previously published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Connie Johnson is a Los Angeles, CA-based writer whose poetry has appeared in publications such as Iconoclast, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, San Pedro River Review, Glint Literary Journal, Rye Whiskey Review, Sport Literate, and Writing in a Woman’s Voice. In 2023 she was twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Everything is Distant Now (Blue Horse Press), her debut poetry collection, is available on Amazon; In a Place of Dreams, her digital album/chapbook, can be found at  

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