2 Poems by Jeffrey Zable [Poetry]

Explicit Chat

So I decided to call the pretty, scantily clad woman in the ad. . .
And when she came on the line—just to be sure it was the same woman—
I asked, “Are you the pretty, scantily clad woman in the ad on the back
page of the San Francisco Weekly?”
“Yes, that’s me, and I’m here to please!” she responded in a soft,
soothing voice.
“You are a very pretty girl, but more important, you look very caring
and sensitive. I especially need to speak with a someone who is caring
and sensitive.”
“You’ve come to the right place!” she cooed “Now what can I do for you!
What I mean is. . . how do you like it?”
“I like it when someone really listens to me!” I responded. “Lately I’ve
been I’m feeling more lonely and depressed. My best friend moved away,
my parakeet suddenly died, and my psychotherapist is on vacation.”
“I understand perfectly!” she said in a supportive tone. “Now, if you’ll
just provide me with your credit card number, we can begin. . .”
“I’ll be happy to do that,” I replied, “But first I’d like to know if you’ve
ever been depressed and lonely. I believe that those who know what it’s
like—who’ve been there— will be the most sympathetic and nurturing
toward those who are suffering.”
“Well, yes, of course, I’ve been depressed and lonely before– In fact
many times. Now, if you’ll just provide me with your credit card number
we can begin.”
So I gave her my Visa card number, but strangely enough, no sooner
had I done so than she started telling me about her own experiences with
loneliness and depression. She kept talking non-stop for almost an hour
until she informed me that our session was over; that she needed to get
home right away to feed her beloved cat named Bella.
When my Wells Fargo statement arrived I was a bit shocked to see
that the cost of the explicit chat was almost five times what I paid for
an individual session with my psychotherapist. And when I told him
about this, he responded, “I should really charge you more for my services.
I’m mainly giving you a reduced rate because I’ve been seeing you for so
many years. . .”

Another Shot

Then that song, “Stairway to Heaven” came on, which made me
shout out instinctively, “Take that shit off or I’m outta here!”
And that’s when some guy who looked like Robert Plant came up
to my table and said, “You don’t like that song!? That is our signature
piece. Millions and millions of people love it. How is it possible that you
don’t love it too!”
“Listen, Mr. Plant,” I responded in a less than friendly tone, “I’m not
one of those people! The lyrics to that song are schmaltzy. And I don’t like
the chord changes either. I did enjoy your first two albums, but after that,
I pretty much stopped listening to you guys. Beyond that, I hardly listen
to other music from that era: Hendrix, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Eric Burden
and the Animals. . . Just too painful. Reminds me of when I was a young
man and still hopeful.”
“That’s a shame!” he replied. “That stuff anchors me. Actually gives
me hope: Hendrix, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Eric Burden and the Animals. . .
Listening to those folks is what keeps me going.”
“Perfectly understandable!” I responded. “By the way, I’m sure you
knew a lot of great musicians personally. Please, sit down and tell me a bit
of your story.”
And as soon as he was in the chair, I asked, “What’s it like being a rock
star? Being on the road all the time? Playing for thousands of people? “
“It’s terrible on relationships since you’re always leaving friends and
loved ones behind. But you gotta keep moving and giving your fans what
they want. You gotta stay in the public eye. Then there’s always the illusion
that you’re larger than life because your fans treat you like royalty; always
telling you how much they love you. Fame is a drug. A drug that’s almost
impossible to kick!”
And as he rose to his feet, he said apologetically, “Sorry, but I must
catch a plane. Promise me you’ll try that song again with headphones on
in a garden or by the sea. . .”
“Will do!” I responded. “It’s worth another shot!”


By Jeffrey Zable

  • Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in The Local Train, Ink In Thirds, Remington Review, After The Pause, Cacti Fur, Rosette Maleficarum, Tigershark, Spelk, Lucent Dreaming, Corvus, and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

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