Playing the Piano in a Sporting House

I became distracted by Jelly Roll Quilt.
And then Jelly Roll Song.
And then, Jelly Roll Race –
until I discovered that was
a race for Jelly Roll Quilts.

Anyway, his real name was Ferdinand. But he preferred:
Mr. Jelly Roll.


In the chest and face. But he didn’t die then.
Then he died later. Before that, he married
Mabel, a showgirl.


None of his admirers attended his funeral.
His personality was too bumptious.
But Duke Ellington – you know him?
He wasn’t there, either.

Not Icebergs

People love to argue.
About the best song Jelly Roll wrote.

Some people say it is BURNIN’ THE ICEBERG.
Others say BIG FOOT HAM.
Turtles say TURTLE TWIST.

Sea Life

I say: is it true that Jelly Roll loved turtles?
Or maybe he ate them.
People used to eat turtles.
Even in cartoons.

Police Sketch

Front teeth bad.
Bow tie.
Nice smile.


Everybody has a godmother.
But only Jelly Roll has an echo

For a godmother. She said:
Hello, my name is Echo. And
Jelly Roll, child,
I love you.

Photography © Glenn Bowie


Ricky Garni was born in Miami and grew up in Florida and Maine. He works as a graphic designer by day and writes music by night. COO, a tiny collection of short prose printed on college lined paper with found materials such as coins, stamps and feathers, was recently released by Bitterzoet Press.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters. Glenn is also the official photographer for the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.