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THE SAD TALE OF SUZY YEN, by Johnny Strike


Sparse weeds swaying in the wind,
Gentle Asian dancers,
Who are not faraway but rather in a theater,
On a stage...
All glitz and gold,
Fantastic made-up faces,
Large, slow raindrops, wet streets,
Red and yellow banners,
Flapping in another breeze,
A walk through Chinatown,

"The Mouth" they call him,
A crooked private eye, enters Red's,
leans on a bar top,
He has false teeth, sagging bluish eyes,
He clicks his teeth after ordering,
Eyes are watery, pools of regret,
He sucks in a bit of stale air,
He speaks to the Chinese bartender,
"Just whose facts are we talking about here?"

"Suzy Yen. She work theater next door."
The light rain becomes a downpour,
"The Mouth" finishes his drink,
slaps down a few damp bills.
The bottom one is a hundred.

In the dressing room the dancer approaches him,
for an embrace.
He stabs her in the heart.
Chinese folk music squeaks from a cheap radio.
Suzy Yen takes in a final breath of air.
"The Mouth" goes out the back way,
Red and yellow banners flap above,
a few greasy garbage bins.

Johnny Strike, is an American writer, mostly known as songwriter, guitarist and singer for the proto-punk band Crime based in San Francisco.Headpress in the UK published Strike's first novel in 2004, Ports of Hell, with a blurb by William S. Burroughs. Strike also interviewed Paul Bowles, Mohamed Choukri, Herbert Huncke and traveled, with extended stays in Morocco, Mexico, and Thailand where he set his fiction. His writing has appeared in Ambit magazine, Headpress Journal and Pulp Adventures. In 2008, with artist Richard Sala providing illustrations, Rudos and Rubes published his short story collection: A Loud Humming Sound Came From Above. His last two books, Name of the Stranger and Murder in the Medina are mystery/thrillers out on Bold Venture Press and set in the infamous city of Tangier. His latest music endeavor is Naked Beast, due out in 2017 from Guitars and Bongos.