licensed tommy alven
Eskilstuna Rag
by Chris Vannoy

The snowflakes are dancing around me
and I am smiling!
Ginsberg is sleeping in Izzy’s basement and I am smiling
as Irene screams slam poetry standing on top of the piano
where Tom Waits bangs out a new tune with a cigarette
dangling from his lower lip
while Dylan’s ghost throws down another whisky
and I am drunk on IPA.

Charlie Chaplin taps his cane
listening to the thumping beat of sweet jazz blues
as the psychedelic jukebox drops another record
onto the turntable of the world
where Bessie Smith melts magic from the microphone
and Miles blows his midnight horn

Marlene catches my eye with a wink
And we are dancing, dancing, dancing…

PHOTO: Eskilstuna, Sweden by © Tommy Alvén, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written on my first visit to Stockholm. I met Israel “Izzy” Young and he told me that Ginsberg  used to sleep in his basement when he visited there. “Irene” was the host at a poetry reading in Eskilstuna…the Dylan reference is there because I was on my way to see Dylan Thomas’s childhood birthplace in Swansea, Wales…Tom Waits…I worked at the same pizza parlor he did…just six months after he quit…the rest of the characters I think you know already.

chris vannoy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Vannoy has been writing for most of his life. Promoter, editor, teacher, and tireless advocate of words both heard and spoken; he works endlessly to raise up words from page to ear and from mouth to the air. The originator of the Poet’s Tree featured and open reading series, as well as editor of the Poet’s Tree Press, He is also curator for “Bedder” poetry reading series and the International Beat Poetry Festival in San Diego. He has read at Mills College in Oakland, California, and at The West Coast Regional slam at Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California. In 2017 and 2018, he’s read in Stockholm, Sweden; London, England; Cardiff, Wales; Swansea, Wales; Margate, England; Ramsgate, England; Dover, England; Chatham, England; Seattle, Washington; and San Francisco, California. In 2019, he was appointed Beat Poet Laureate of the United States by the International and National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. Find him at youtube and soundcloud.