Hot Jazz

Written by: Brenda Atry

Slow drawn, steeping tea bags, in an etched glass pitcher, Lazily infuse its Oriental musk into the sun warmed brew. My ice crackles along with the thunder over the great Mississippi As the ewers’ spout releases the torrents of Southern comfort Into the tall, foggy, frost laden glass; I await my fill. A frigid sip chafes my lips and briefly deadens my longing, Only momentarily, as the turgid air, again, envelops my throat. The chills grip my spine, even in this oppressive heat. Sauntering droplets roam slowly down my bare skinned back And puddle where my hips widen at the curve of my waist. Hope is lost for those of us who float through purgatory. The weight of two centuries of sorrow hangs heavily on our skin. The burden is at its worst to bear just before autumn, When slave ships broken by storms washed up on the river. Airlessness provides no clemency for those gasping for pardon. Sorrow lies heavily in the lungs of the poor souls of August. Heat, fetid and damp, feverishly enables man’s basest passion, To be disguised as music, that wails from the saloons in the Quarter. Deep, boiling, fermented tales of sorrow are turned into song, Melodic tales spun of sorcery, savagery blue and untethered souls, Forged metals and the scat of primitive voices, break the fugue. Echoes of blasphemy wrought suffocating havoc and destruction, As hot jazz blows cool through the streets of the Ninth Ward.