Untitled Country Review (ISSN 2152-7903), published quarterly during 2010-2013, features poetry, book reviews, photography, and short works of non-fiction. Thank you for visiting.

Issue 3: Lucia Galloway

Hosting the Duke at the Cotton Club, circa 1929

Never seen the club so jammed.
Not a dime-size spot out there
on the dance floor.  What a mob!
A real Hades in Harlem!
What’s that?  Ah yes, little gal
at the ring-side table wants
us to play “Going to Town.”

You there in the catbird seat!
Your dress hikes up a tad; you
cross one leg over the knee,
unfold it in the humid
dusk of the sidelines to tease
the toe of your dancing shoe
into the pool of cool light. 

I own the night on this floor
where folks join “The Cotton Club
Stomp.”  Jungle music!  Timid
of their shadows, if you ask
me, an emcee in garters
to hold up his socks while his
tuxedo flashes black, white.

How you people like to do
things, go places, see people!
Marvelous, the way you’ve all
warmed up to our little show!
I do love applause!  Dukie
loves applause, whistles kisses.
So! “First We Freeze, Then We Melt.”

We melt into reflections
in a Macy’s plate-glass pane.

--Lucia Galloway

Note: Material in stanzas 1 and 4 closely follows the emcee’s monologue found in the 78 rpm recording “A Nite at The Cotton Club, Part 2,” Duke Ellington and His Cotton Club Orchestra, RCA Victor, 1929.

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