232 Readings

Gramps Stayed Drunk On Jazz,

Wilmot told her, Paul Whiteman mostly.
Radio went further than his dollar.

Gramps was built from gristle and
both Beiderbeckes were a big deal—

Paul Whiteman’s cornetist and
the dog named after him. 

Two ten-pointers would’ve seen’em
through the Fifty-Three winter when

the labrador was four, Pop seventeen,
their hike-in, long as the day.  The night

threw four feet on their campsite.
If cold is the marrow of all knowing,

Pop and Gramps were equal to their god.
Colder than Hitler’s heart.  The wind,

a screaming infant.  Indiana’s woods are
soul-less without a moon.  Pop still swears

the enemy’s most evil in night and cold
shoots for the mind.  Gramps reached

for his ripple.  Pop slid a knife through
Bix’s throat, then belly, put his old man’s

hands and feet in the gut, his body like a heart,
death’s blanket a weird, warm thing.
Posted 03/07/13
"Gramps Stayed Drunk On Jazz" first appeared in The Journal, 36.3, Summer 2012