by Jack Leissring

   Winds howl at Lake Mendota
     up State Street
     too cold for snow
     scarcely a flake on a gust

Hands in pockets
keeping warm enough to play
fake book under arm
The marquee flashing
"Tiger Lounge"
door blows open
exposes bar-stools of after-work regulars

A bartender nods
guarding foam forming
in a pilsner glass
I stamp my feet
TV's lit in the corner
all bar eyes converge

We're the "Modern Jazz Trio, plus One"
the announcer vocalizes to his mic.
live broadcast tonight
WKOW-FM, weekly
         Jazz From the Tiger show

two hours of jazz
splattered across the kettle moraine
of South-central Wisconsin
quickening cow barns
and car radios of lovers angled
behind steamy panes at picnic point

The piano as close to tune as can be
chipped, missing ivories, hobbled keys
get used to it
a few beers: fingers don't care.
Not a well-loved Steinway, serviceable

Exerpt from 12 Bar Blues - by Jack Leissring

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