All That Jazz

“Now once more the belt is tight and we summon the proper expression of horror as we look back at our wasted youth.  Sometimes, though, there is a ghostly rumble among the drums, an asthmatic whisper in the trombones that swings me back into the early twenties when we drank wood alcohol and every day in every way grew better and better, and there was a first abortive shortening of the skirts, and girls all looked alike in sweater dresses, and people you didn’t want to know said ‘yes, we have no bananas,’ and it seemed only a question of a few years before the older people would step aside and let the world be run by those who saw things as they were—and it all seems rosy and romantic to us who were young then, because we will never feel quite so intensely about our surroundings any more.” —Scott Fitzgerald, “Echoes of the Jazz Age”  (1931)

You could say

that we, the glistening sap,

resin and seedlings

branched out

from Jazz Age lore

got bamboozled

by slide trombones,

silk flowers

and gin-soaked kimonos,

but really

we blame it on the hours

spent with the moon,

who, in her intoxicating

kamikaze mixing with romantic youth

stripped us of our hinges

while tipping us over gilded edges,

and later, much later,

looking back at our undisclosed remains,

we smiled, grew misty-eyed, felt shame,

and held secret funerals

for our faded lives,

while also holding our mortal deficits

close to our hearts,

where, the wistful mercy of afterglow

flickered off

and on

off

and on.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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