I’m going to start posting one the poems from my book, Music from Words, every few weeks and tell you something about it. My hope is that some dear readers will buy one or more copies of the book. The best place to buy Music from Words is either from the publisher, Bellday Books or from Amazon or another online book store. You can also order it at virtually all brick-and-mortar book stores.
We start with “July Fourth,” the first poem in the book. “July Fourth” was published years ago in the literary journal Oxford Review, which also nominated the poem for a Pushcart prize. The poem repeats the name, Joe Venuti, many times. Venuti was a jazz violinist who began performing before 1920 and was still at it in the early 1970’s. If you like the OpEdge blog or this poem, please buy Music from Words.
And the three-year-old at the picnic
said she wanted to play the violin
and I said, just like Joe Venuti
and she said, you’re a Joe Venuti
and I said, you’re a Joe Venuti
and she pulled a tuft of grass and said,
here’s some Joe Venuti
and she pointed to a sparrow scratching in the dust
and said, there’s a Joe Venuti
and from a plastic bag she dumped
a bunch of Joe Venutis
and barbecue flames caressed the grilling Joe Venutis
and men threw the Joe Venuti, popping their gloves,
while women slurped the Joe Venuti and spit the seeds
and the sun played hide and seek in dissipating Joe Venutis
and through poplar branches Joe Venuti shadows danced
across the baby’s sleeping smile.
Later, like Marcus Aurelius
observing models of human behavior,
we watched the ducks glide away
after the bread was gone.
– Marc Jampole
Originally published in Oxford Magazine, Volume 5, # 2 (Spring-Summer 1989) and Music from Words (Bellday Books, 2007).