Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

My dad jitterbugged counterclockwise

on the hardwood to big bands

from his teens until

his back gave out in his mid-70s.

 

Danced with mom in the kitchen

as “Rock Around the Clock” blared

on a dinky little 45 player.

Loved to sing too.

We’d harmonize in the old Buick,

south on Hwy 71, the 120 miles back home

from Chief’s games at old Municipal Stadium.

 

An engineer on the Kansas City Southern Railroad,

he’d sometimes croon “For the Good Times” or “Paper Doll”

on an open radio channel from K.C. to Shreveport.

 

In the early 1960s he bought an RCA console stereo

and hired Frank, the local TV repairman,

to wire it to the speaker of our upright television

to get an even more pronounced “split.”

 

One day, not long afterward, when he was listening

to Sil Austin play “Danny Boy” on tenor sax,

I walked into the living room

to find him sitting a chair positioned

halfway between both speakers.

 

He waved me over to his side.

Listen,” he said,

his eyes welling with tears.

That’s it.”

~ J. T. Knoll

J.T. Knoll is the author of Where The Pavement Ends and co-author of Ghost Sign, a 2017 Kansas Notable Book. He lives on Euclid’s curve in Pittsburg, Kansas with his wife, Linda, and dog, Arlo the Labradorian.

Guest Editor Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and the Chiron Review. He is the recent recipient of the Rattle Chapbook Award for 2019. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas.

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