the museum of americana

a literary review

Louis Armstrong Plays for His Wife in Giza, 1961 — Poetry by Jennifer Bartell

 

The sphinx is not drowsy.
Its ear heavy with brass
that echoes off its half-broken face.
The sphinx thinks this is its coronation

that this must be the final blast
written in the books of old.
It now wishes to rise
from this stony couch,

but Louis said he’d play for her anywhere.
He played for her in front of the sphinx
in the shadow of a pyramid, sweat
trickling down his bow-tied body.

This is what the poet says:
Forget the sphinx and its riddles
this is what love sounds like in Giza.
this is what man will do to please her.

 

~  ~  ~

bartellJennifer Bartell, a teaching associate at Coastal Carolina University, graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2005 and received the MFA in Poetry from the University of South Carolina in 2014. Her poetry has been published in pluck!: The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Blackberry: a magazine, Jasper Magazine, decomP, Fall Lines, and Composite {Arts Magazine} and is forthcoming inCallaloo. Jennifer is an administrator for The Watering Hole, a poetry collective for Southern poets and poets of color who write about the South. Jennifer is also a 2014 Callaloo Writing Workshop Fellow.

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