“A Band Named JimmyBob” by Jeffrey Warzecha

“A Band Named JimmyBob” by Jeffrey Warzecha

No corncob pipe
or timothy hay sprig
stuck in his kisser,
but the lead singer is wearing
a chambray shirt, felt hat,
and a crying, slung
twelve string. Insert
a weathered clawhammer
banjo in the background,
and frayed jeans cut-off just
above the high water line
and you get the idea.
Add two fiddlers, both
with beat-closed eyes,
and a barefoot tambourinist
with an on-the- rocks
in his striking hand
and you’ve got the band
on the stage’s left side.
On the right is
a Bourbon barrel,
two metal trash cans,
a couple wooden crates
and a menagerie of empty
cookie tins that comprise
the percussion section.
You can’t forget a show
like this: a no-name
dive off a dirt road:
intimate, visceral—
allowed in to see or hear
the magic of a local secret—
moments you feel you’re
a note within a larger song,
part of the river’s flow,
when the experience flitters
your stomach like free fall.
You feel that backwoods
accelerando? Affrettando?
That’s this unknown Kentuckian
backing band building
tension like the current
quickening before a waterfall,
crescendo approaching
the cliff’s edge, mist rising
from below it like the vocalist’s
hands, clapping faster
than hummingbirds’ wings,
alongside the button accordionist,
leading the stomping boot-
beat further downriver
to where they in unison
plunge into the coda,
keel us all over the brink.


Jeffrey Warzecha earned an MFA from Lesley University, is the recipient of The Connecticut Review’s
Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize and has new publications both in print and online.