Henry’s Swing Club

Satan bebopped into Detroit
with a wad that would choke
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
with a Saturday Night Special
holding a Full Metal Jacket Load
and with a Hell Hound Harmonica
one of those diatonic harps in the Key of C.

The devil came from Kansas City
and went dashing into Henry’s Swing Club
looking to jam with the hipsters and hustlers
the freakish Maltese Kittens and Fly-Girls
thinking he was DOWN with IT
but truth-be-told he was stickin’ like a Honky.

When Satan riffed back for a 12 Bar Blues
trying to hang with Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom
he got the boot once again off the Tree of Life
went for his Roscoe and got it snatched
came up late on his left-hand raise
and got his ass busted wide open again
for a parade of sinners to march on through
just like in that painting by Hieronymous Bosch.

     Mark James Andrews
     Harper Woods, Michigan

Jazz Funeral

Our poem of the week comes to us, via the winter issue of Third Wednesday, all the way from Norway.

                                    Jazz Funeral  

When my grandmother dies,
               the teacher says
    she deserves a Dixieland funeral,
        so my uncle’s klezmer band plays
When the Saints and the local police
stop traffic as we march
                  behind the hearse, high-stepping,
   bopping umbrellas, walking
the oldest member of our group
      back to a New Orleans
 she will never see again.
                           And I wonder what this town thinks.
               Will it ever know
we lived within it,
   that a world began
            and will end
   without a single public word
         nothing more than an obituary
                                      and a little wild music.

     Allen Jones
     Rogaland, Norway

Spontaneous Human Combustion

 “He burned from the inside out, not the outside in.  Now that’s real
  proof that this phenomenon’s for real.  And we’re all at risk.”
      -Rick Barton (Director of the International ParaScience Center)

Maybe it begins as a singe, cinder
     hissing from within, kindling beneath skin.
           The flush must feel much like lust at first,

           flicker-licks rippling concentric.
     Or perhaps heat skulks in like a childhood
fever, caul-wrapping bonnets of fire.

             Post-mortem pictures depict the same
     grim room: its filth and fifth of gin, its Pall
Mall pack—one smoke left—curtains pulled

tight against noon.  Even in photos, the reek
     seeps through.  Yellow on the window’s
          sill, char-sweet on the carpet in plumes.

Every easy chair can be a pyre.  No
     matter, that our bodies are bodies
          of water.  Forget the bottles of rot-

          gut, the acetone build-up.  The barbiturates,
     and the lit cigs blitzing house-dresses.
These flare-ups are spontaneous, impetuous

     as all of us—bound for ash and about to burst.

                    – Erika Brumett
                      Seattle, Washington

Geode by Caroline Maun

Our Featured Poet in the Winter Issue of Third Wednesday is Caroline Maun.

Caroline is associate professor of English at Wayne State University. She teaches creative writing and American literature and is Director of Graduate Studies. Here is our poem of the week.

Geode

So much cosmic time to fashion
an aggregate of anguish.
We want to smash it open,
stroke the blades of crystal.
This could be your self
halved, your calcified sphere
cleft like a glistening delicacy.
Privacy shattered, exposing
the secluded methods of jewels,
molecules aligning, growing fierce

     – Caroline Maun

Sully’s Hair

Our featured poem for this week appeared in the Fall Issue. It’s by California poet, Kat Lewis.


Sully’s Hair  

The scent of honey drops swirled in milk
billowed from perfect waves of brown hair.
I always tried to convince myself
that Sully’s hair was the color of raisins,
greasy paper bags, or shit, but underneath
all my internalized lies, I knew that it was brown
like hickory, like Devil’s food cake, whiskey,
or grizzly fur. Like my father’s baby grand,
the butt of revolvers. In my boarding school days,
I dragged my fingers through the knots
in her Maker’s Mark locks, and held
the straightener there until I smelled the hair burn.
Even the smoke streaming from the strands
smelled like honeycombs.

 – Kat Lewis
 Berkeley, California

Past Tents

Dream back how you waded
a Montana stream, at each bend
cast brown-bear-blacks

toward the far bank. Until dusk.
Until cold crept in. Fire reflected red
on meadow grass when you got back

to camp. Rainbow alive a few hours ago
sizzled in the skillet, gold stripes
still bright on their sides. Out-fished
again,

you devoured her form layered
by growing shadows where she bent
spatula in hand. Mint along the creek

sent sweet scent into gathering night.
Willows waved themselves
into black pickets around your tent.

Full, the day spent, you were happy
to press against her back
as the moon rose and she slept.

    Timothy Pilgrim
    Bellingham, Washington

From Third Wednesday, Volume  IX, No. 4