Through a Harlem Hotel window,
I heard the day
imitate “Rhapsody in Blue.”
One clarinet wheeled in howling.
Later, there were rush hour notes
from saxophones, trumpets,
woodwinds and violins.
Besides their vehicular tonality,
there were additional instruments
arousing my tympanum.

Then, the day swung to another rhythm
and its Chick-Webb-fast drumming life
was beckoning my feet.
Opposing my slow drag dance mood,
the alarm yelled,
“Since Duke Ellington’s A Train
Won’t nap,
Out tap the Nicholas Brothers
And do Cab Calloway’s Jumpin’ Jive.”

On a queen-sized bed,
an Oshun-picturesque1 seductress,
who should have been
Billie Holiday’s twin,
said hello
in that way good gin gets you.
Inebriated by everything she stated,
I heard her say,
“In our jam,
you grooved well,
real well,
but don’t exit
until after the encore kisses,

My response was all raspy,
similar to Louis Armstrong’s exuberance
when he sang “Hello, Dolly.”
A few coughs into my sentence,
my voice became Chet Baker’s.

Either the coffee
or her kisses
made my hangover
recede and it revealed
her name.
Her name was Jazlynn,
but she preferred
to be known as

1. [Oshun: A Goddess in the Yoruba religion who controls love and wealth, etc.]


The Imagists and Negritude Movement influenced Bob McNeil. After many years of being a professional illustrator, spoken word artist and writer, he still hopes to express and address the needs of the human mosaic.

:: more from this issue ::

Penthouse Girl

Marley Andino

For Today

Melissa Matthewson

Today I Fought the Urge

Jane Huffman

The Literary Life of My Vagina



Robert Long Foreman


Bob McNeil


Elizabeth Tannen


J. Michael Wahlgren