July 25, 2007

Who decided it was the Jazz Age?
Did it just happen?
Or was everyone sitting around
with nothing to do on a Saturday night,
having seen all the movies
and there weren’t any parties going on
when some young upstart said:
“Hey, let’s have the Jazz Age,”
and everyone agreed enthusiastically,
F. Scott Fitzgerald most enthusiastically of all?

I hope it was the latter,
because that means we can have a Jazz Age anywhere
and any time we feel like it.

We will be sitting around
with nothing to do on a Saturday night,
having seen all the movies,
and there are no parties going on,
and I’ll say:
“Hey, let’s have a Jazz Age!”
and as soon as everyone agrees
(you most enthusiastically of all,
you love F. Scott Fitzgerald)
a Jazz Age will begin for us right there
in your living room.

We will all suddenly be flush with the excitement
of not having been killed in The Great War,
and suddenly the guys will be in sharp suits
and the girls in little dresses
that have gone in and out of style twenty times since their first time around
but tonight they’re the peak of fashion
because it IS the first time around

and our pockets will have as much money in them as they did
before we decided it was a Jazz Age,
but in the Jazz Age, that amount of money is worth
In the Jazz Age, we’re RICH!

And a ruddy-cheeked guy named Fats will burst in,
arms full of bootleg gin bottles wrapped in brown paper,
because of COURSE we have a ruddy-cheeked friend named Fats
who’s fresh from a run to the bootlegger!
It's the goddamned Jazz Age!

The jazz in our Jazz Age
is provided by a dance band who are the toast of Harlem ninety years ago
and they just stopped by your apartment on their way home
from a ballroom gig downtown ninety years ago
and MAN do they kick
and BOY do we ever cut a rug.

Lucky for us, we all immediately know
how to do the hottest dances:
we are instantaneously aware of the difference between the shimmy and the shim-sham
and while we could not put it into words
we are more than happy to demonstrate it
in the fifteen square feet of carpet between the coffee table
and the TV
(which has, for the purposes of our Jazz Age,
kindly become a radio.)

There is not much room in here
but what room there is
we fill with each other’s bodies,
which we can fling around our own with ease and grace,
a living-room solar system whirling in modern time,

and we never collide
and we always beam ‘cause who can help it?
It’s the Jazz Age,
a Jazz Age,
our Jazz Age,
in the middle of another, as-yet-untitled, era.

An era I can't imagine anyone will ever want to call into being
in their living room
on a Saturday night,
but who knows, maybe they will.

Maybe they will have seen all the movies
and there won't be any parties going on.

Posted by DC at July 25, 2007 01:57 AM

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