play it again, julie!

#12 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

photo by Zyada.

Ladies and gentlemen, please select a clarinet so you can play it later in this post.

Exquisitely talented poet and maestro, Julie Larios, is here for an encore performance of her deliciously ingenious double abecedarian, “A Night on the Town.”

This vigorous roller coaster of a poem first debuted on Julie’s blog, The Drift Record, back in June. I was amazed, astounded, and absolutely ablaze with wonderment. Double ABCs! *swooning* A to Z down the left, Z to A down the right. Perfect lines, a funny story, a donkey and the Rhapsody in Blue! She even used the word, “glissando!” (FYI: a glissando is a glide from one pitch to another.) Love that word. Say it with me, right now: g-l-i-s-s-a-n-d-o. Don’t you feel all shimmery and flowing in a particularly passionate Italiano sort of way? ☺

Friends (especially those of you who aren’t regular Poetry Friday participants and may have missed it), this poem is especially for you. Whenever Gershwin or any other musician/composer is mentioned, please pick up your clarinets and join me in a group glissando. Make those notes glide and glisten! (Thunderous applause for Julie’s lexicological dexterity is optional, but after reading this, probably unavoidable.)


by Julie Larios

A man goes into a bar with a donkey. A small jazz

Band is playing, and the man says, “Hey, my donkey

Can play Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on a sax.

Drinks on the house if he can’t.” “No way,”

Everyone in the bar says. A woman named Bev

Finds the donkey a sax, but the real sax player, Lou,

Gets annoyed. “Any idiot knows you need a clarinet,”

He says, “for Gershwin’s opening glissando.” Everyone agrees.

I’m not sure,” says the donkey. He and his owner confer.

Just get me outta here,” the donkey whispers, “P.D.Q.”

Keep your shirt on,” says the man, who has his hopes up.

Look,” he says to Lou, “how about Bernstein on a cello?”

Maybe I Feel Pretty…?” calls out another man.

No, no, no,” says his date. “Play Dance in the Gym!”

On a cello?” everyone snorts, and she begins to yell.

Please get me outta here,” whispers the donkey again. “Quick.”

Quickly,” corrects the man. “it’s an adv. not an adj.”

Right, I stand corrected. But I really think I….”

Suddenly the bartender, a big guy with tattoos, says “I wish

The donkey knew some early Louis Armstrong.”

Under the circumstances,” the animal concedes, “if

Virtually everyone in the bar will sing along, I’ll be fine.”

Woody Allen should be filming this,” says the drummer. “And

Xavier Cugat should be the bandleader. That’s basic.”

Yeah, or maybe Spike Lee and Calloway.” “Calloway?” “Cab.”

Zubin!” someone shouts out. “Spielberg and Zubin Mehta!”

Copyright © 2009 Julie Larios. All rights reserved.

For the glissando of all glissandos, you must watch this short Rhapsody in Blue film directed by Adrian Marthaler. It’s cooler than cool, the cat’s pajamas. No donkeys here, but there’s a hotel lobby, a bar, a sturdy female clarinetist and one beast of a piano player.

*taps baton and raises arms*

Play Part One.
Play Part Two.

photo by pho-Tony.

Thanks for the musical feast, Julie! ♥


P.S. Julie and Carol Brendler have just started a new blog, Jacket Knack, where they will post every Monday about jacket/cover design. Check it out!

 Certified authentic alphabetica. Handmade just for you with rhapsodic love and blue donkey ears.

Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.


19 thoughts on “play it again, julie!

  1. Thanks!

    Just a quick thanks to all of you who enjoyed that wild ride (and to Jama for posting it)- I had fun writing it, though I never quite feel like I can say I “wrote” a double abecedarian – basically, the carny man tending the ride sits me down, lowers the bar that keeps me from flying out, and pulls the lever. Then I’m off – roller coaster time! I hope some of you will give it a try.

    Julie Larios


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