Friday, September 2, 2011

Jazz Age



Jazz Age


Take it from the steal
take it from the street
take it from the speakeasy
the deck tossed under his feet,
swaying drunken flower in his
flannel bags, fedora, 
pipestem clenched,
teeth grating, another
Fitzgerald whored to
the Post. Glass raised,
posed amidships
she's an indigo nonsense,
a mad moondanced Zelda
traveling in night, losing life 
gin-draped in felt folds,
white wealth of self, 
pointed toe
broken starfish arms.

Drop it in the deep
drop it in the well
drop it in your sleep
hard to say when he fell,
drank the last bottle
smoked the last fag
wrote the last script,
oozed over the side
without making Paris, Riviera,
Antibes, never reading
Papa’s last laugh
just a sink and sigh 
in the peace blue 
sea, looking up going down
at the dancing starfish
in her tulle shroud gown
wings barely showing 
in the dark.


September 2011

Posted for    Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub


Loosely inspired by the Fitzgeralds and some fragments of dream


39 comments:

  1. It's wonderful how this bit of history fished from oblivion is let go, like a prize fish whose worth was only in the catching. Just to behold it there in the Bishopean boat, striated with rainbow gas and noirblue hooch, a relic alive yet dead, not meant for this world, saved the deep lost silt of history if only for this moment. The opening rhythms of both stanzas have a Jazz Age feel, sort of, a stride piano piece by Fats Waller played in some smoky Paris bistro / bordello, deep in the belly of our literary whale. The device gets each stanza going and then fades away into a more familiar meter, just like something snatched from the deep and coming into focus with a more contemporary voice. It's awkward only in that the poem attempts to binoculate two eras in one song, trying to keep the essence of both intact. Whew doggie. That Okie heat is sure keeping the vatic cauldron in your skull at a fine simmer ... - Brendan

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  2. A wonderful write... thank you so much!

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  3. Thanks, annell.

    @B: Yes, the first three lines just came pretty much as is out of a dream last week, morphing into the next three--that's all I had sent to me to ferry across this time, so I kept them even though they were almost nonsense at the time. I hope I've managed to patch the feathers into the pattern properly.Thanks for the kind words. (It's only supposed to be 99 today. yay?)

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  4. This has kind of a boppy rhythm. Almost cheerful. What have you done with Hedgewitch?

    Seriously, I like this very much. I had a huge obsession with the Lost Generation writer when I was younger.

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  5. @MZ: Hey, they're all doomed--boppy, but doomed--what more can I say?

    RE: The Lost Generation--me, too. In many ways they blazed that trail we followed in my gen's version--and that is still hiding out there and pops up in little pockets of punk and goth and alt--the rebels and outsiders who cared nothing for convention--despised it. If anything, they were a bit more serious in refuting and changing what they had to take on.

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  6. "she's an indigo nonsense"

    ^^^that's perfect.

    Frankie Ford likes your labels.

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  7. Thankee, ma'am. Learned from the best.

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  8. My brain is mush from heat (had to spend the day in the lowlands of the mile high city), too much running around (drove for 4 hours), and lots of people (met some 50 new ones). I'll be back tomorrow for comment when I'm not on overload. Fantastic concatenation of elements - I enjoyed it greatly (yeah, tomorrow - head hits keyboard aguhrhegnwmerhfj).

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  9. @Anna: Heat alone will do that to ya, let alone all the rest. Get yourself rejuiced and rested, friend, and thanks for dragging your tired brain over here in the first place.

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  10. Ok now that I'm rested I wanted to define those 'elements' that so eluded my last night: psychology, history, politics, biography, and art. I was trying to recall the name of the story on NPR about the book I've been meaning to read that may interest you which this morning wasn't a problem but last night felt impossible :) - it's here http://www.npr.org/2010/05/10/126613316/prohibition-life-politics-loopholes-and-bathtub-gin. In it the author connects the dots between the Noble Experiment, Women's Suffrage, and the rise of drugstores (the only place to fill your prescription for 'medicinal' alcohol during Prohibition - wonder if Fitzgerald had a one?). Anyway, you may enjoy the Fresh Air interview.

    I especially LOVED:

    she's an indigo nonsense,
    a mad moondanced Zelda
    traveling in night, losing life
    gin-draped in felt folds,
    white wealth of self,
    pointed toe
    broken starfish arms.

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  11. I like Brendan's Bishopian take, yes a free-flapping fish here, with a jazz beat. Love those three-line entrees, which really do set a free and easy rhythm that I associate with their time, easy but bouncing quietly, and leading into something up, or something down, who knows where it will go. Each line is a joy, Joy. ;-)

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  12. Thanks, Anna, I appreciate that link--love the quote that says the reason Prohibition passed is because the anti-drinking folks were organized and protesting, and the pro-liquor group was busy out drinking. ;-)

    @Ruth, glad you liked, thanks for making the time to read. You never know what's going to come to the bait, do you?

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  13. Love this, Joy. I think it fits in nicely with the Poetics feel today. I liked the lines - gin-draped in felt folds and broken starfish arms. Those dancers arms really "flapped" around, didn't they? lol

    and I smiled at the dated word "fag" in reference to cigarettes. Very cool

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  14. @Sheila, yes that word is one my mother's generation always used for a smoke--nowdays, ummmm...not so much. Glad you thought it fit the shoe, since I wore it anyway. ;-)

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  15. tulle shroud gown is a great texture as are many of your descriptors in this as already pointed out by others...love how each stanza opens, nice cadence in those lines...you do well to capture a moment in time...on an interesting note, the diner/art gallery i went to yesterday was set up downstairs as a speakeasy...very cool place...

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  16. This is terrific. Don't know if you've read "The Paris Wife" yet. Although it focuses on Hemingway and his first wife, the Fitzgeralds figure right into it, of course. Didn't take many lines of this poem to immerse me back into the streets and cafes of Paris. Loved it, Joy.

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  17. You really get a sense of this time period.

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  18. I felt like she was dancing for me through the rhythm of your words... so fun...like the flappers Charleston... or whatever...
    mad moondanced Zelda
    love that!

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  19. The repetition strengthens this poem, sets the scene and the mood brilliantly. The rhythm, textures and the complex portrayed in simple depth make this amazing poem. Favorite parts, all of them.

    Beth

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  20. I loved this, what a wonderful story you told for this picture.

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  21. Tragic, but beautiful... the repition works well in this.

    ~laurie

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  22. I watch the story, I watch her dance. Thank you.

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  23. I am doing my jazz hand appreciation signal - although dont get carried away - its nerve damage from my speakeasy barfly days and to much moonshine hanging with big al in chi town -

    Ragtime surrealism - shit -press any more of my buttons and ill blow. love the structure - the ideas and the era.

    And i had a german schnauzer called the great gatsby

    Love it

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  24. I love, love, love this line: "she's an indigo nonsense" ~safehousepoetry.wordpress.com

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  25. Good one, Hedgewitch! Nice also getting to know you over at Poets United.

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  26. That exuberant, hedonistic, live-for-the-moment time - you've encapsuklated it in these few words. Well done, Hedgewitch.

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  27. Astonishing images, woven into a ragtime rhythm that overlays a tragic scene. Broken starfish arms, fallen angel, drowning soul. Lovely, haunting poem.

    David

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  28. I can hear this one set to 1920s music and danced with girls in flapper dresses doing the Charleston!

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  29. Nice take on the prompt. The whole piece just flowed for me. One of my favorite parts was,

    "Papa’s last laugh
    just a sink and sigh
    in the peace blue
    sea . . ."

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  30. You caught the spirit of the Jazz Age beautifully - rich imagery as always

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  31. Great poem and the ending three lines are exquisite.

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  32. I like the feel of this; a joyful ride with the windows down. We both mentioned Jazz in our titles. Goosebumps, eh? Seriously I loved this melodic ride through history interpreted by art. Very enjoyable read. And you sent me to Google again. I love learning.

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  33. I was taken away to the music and time...

    Like these lines:

    she's an indigo nonsense,
    a mad moondanced Zelda
    traveling in night, losing life
    gin-draped in felt folds,
    white wealth of self,
    pointed toe
    broken starfish arms.

    Awesome write as always ~

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  34. Play it again Joy! What a wonderful romp...and the feature at Poets United was all I hoped! Getting caught up...but my muse remains silent...when all else fails, read fantastic poetry to tease her out :)

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  35. Adding to the above wonderful commpliments, this has a brilliant flow. Took my hand and did not let go to the end, when I realized I was going into the depths with your charactors. Fabulous!
    I am always impressed with your writing.

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  36. I love Gatsby and have spent some time with Fitzgerald's short stories too. Reading your poem, I felt I was in that yellow car headed out to Long Island where all the green money and blue sea celebrities gathered in the evening;where martinis and bon mots were passed around. As oblivious today to the world as they were there squeezed between two world wars and snatching fun from jazz and the bottom of a bottle.

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  37. You really captured the energy and spirit of that age here. And I love the references to Zelda and Papa! The picture even looks a bit like her. It reminded me of that movie I saw recently - Midnight in Paris.

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  38. I swear this poem has a soundtrack! So wonderful, so lively...and I won't soon forget "broken starfish arms"!

    (p.s. You proved to be a stellar friend by posting Fireblossom's silent screen poem during her power outage. Five gold stars to you for that.)

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg