As I was revising this piece, I started to play with the form and found that it naturally fell in line with the subject matter, evolving into a concrete poem of sorts.


Jazz music filters out into the street
From the club hidden down the alley
Reminiscent of the speakeasies
Of a bygone era, glorified in cinema
Films that made bootleg hooch sound
Rarified and classic as a vintage wine
And cigarettes an elegant extension
Of a lady’s grace or a man’s charm
Clouding a room with atmospheric style
Dancers decked in diamond dresses
Would strut out onto the stage
Performing for pennies in an attempt
To buy their female independence
Singing for their rent and a hot meal
As men tried to prove themselves
In an increasingly industrial world
That prides itself on speed and quantity
Rather than craftsmanship or integrity
My grandmother used to tell us stories
Of butter and sugar sandwiches
When peanut butter and jam
Were considered luxuries
Much too expensive
For the lone daughter
Of a poor divorcée
Trying to make it
All on their own
While the father
Drank his way
To the bottom
Of a bottle


— B.


5 thoughts on “Prohibition

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