Entries by Jess Dennis

A Resolution Rhyme for the New Year

I will run faster to catch up with myself. I will not run away from me.   I promise.   But I might not remember in a month or two so remind me. I might be chasing a new career, enamored of more success, Addicted to work, gathering new possessions. I might fall in love […]

A Poem of Colored Lights

Christmas comes as a regular visit From a magical being in a red suit. A large, white-bearded man Driving a vehicle meant to go in snow, Pulled through space and time By four legged, flying animals with horns.   Pagan celebration Takes over the Earth, All become gift-givers, Love makers, bakers of cookies, Believers in […]

A Thanksgiving Poem for the Road 

I remember having Thanksgiving dinner. Once at a bus station lunch counter. The turkey breast Tasted like tennis shoe rubber. The gray, coagulated Giblet gravy was stiff as jello. The bus station smelled Like cigarettes and bacon grease. I was eighteen years old. It was my first Thanksgiving Away from family. The romance of the […]

A Letter to Young Writers

The only true voice a writer can speak in—honestly and truly—is hers or his own.  This might seem obvious, when in actuality, most people—the vast majority—never learn to “speak” on paper, in black and white words with their own authentic tone, rhythm, and word choices they employ in day to day contact with friends, family, […]

S.O.S. Origins

Gene Laughter, an ex-lifeguard from the Fifties—nicknamed “Swink,” was a mischievous and creative man. He used to entertain his family on summer vacations by writing notes and putting them into bottles, then casting these into the ocean. This practice became elaborate and got out of hand in 1978. A note on an aged parchment found […]

Hard-Core Cadre

SOS is in full swing in Myrtle Beach. The faithful and hardcore come together to dance. The crowds pack a six-block area of North Myrtle Beach. The Shag joints are jumping. There are no fights in the streets nor even a serious frown in the crowd. The overriding emotion seems to be love. Always in […]

Hurricane Unanimity

As Irma approaches, I offer the observation that loosing everything must be more than anyone can bear alone. Let us all be spiritual victims of hurricane destruction. Oh God of Light Let all survive The fury Of the wind And the rage Of the terrible Sea

Big Apple, Little Apple

Most Southern kids who became Shaggers, had been previously influenced by a “circle” dance called the Big Apple, and its first cousin, the Little Apple. Both were fad dances that came and went with great flourish and popularity among white kids in the late Thirties, prior to the arrival of the Jitterbug. The Spivey brothers […]

Cool Sip

The Jitterbug, like the Shag, was a social dance. It served no religious or ritualistic function. However, through its performers, the patterns of the dances reflected the overall environment of the times. The Jitterbug justified overt pelvic contact. On ballroom floors across the nation, male dignity and female conservatism took a back seat to daring […]