Two new poems by Roger Singer.

January 12th, 2017

photo by Bob Willoughby

Big Jay McNeely

Los Angeles, 1953

 

_____

 

FOLLOWING

His fingers move
with sounds of rain,
while clouds roll
within eyes of long years.

Sweat marks the work undone,
A river hammer beats
streams of jazz
into his veins

A breathing of fire absorbs the air;
energy builds from
sawdust floors and spilled gin.

The door of a past knocks at him,
pulling open
wounded paths, minced oaths
and lost words
from cities on his breath.

Tired shoes have no goals,
their life is on the pavement
of previous feasts.

He sets fires of welcome,
knowing they will follow.

 

 

 

WHAT YOU GOT   

 

“Why you smiling playing that jazz?”  She asked with serious
eyes and lips parting the oceans of my thoughts.

“It’s the spirit shadow inside me.”  I replied, smiling
into her deep pool eyes and hurricane hair.

“It pushes you into play?  Making fingers find the notes?”

I leaned on the bass and slapped the strings.  A groaning
echo released hard into the air between us.

I looked up and said.  “I hear a sound like voices yelling
from a passing train.”  She tilted her head back, laughing.

I slid the strings with my fingers, releasing notes.  Her eyes
were full and curious.  She hummed to my playing,
swaying her shoulders.

“I see the jazz.”  She said.  Her eyes now closed.  “It’s
got hold of the music in me.”

I played on.  The language of jazz was speaking.

 

 

 

 

________

 

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Roger Singer is a prolific and accomplished contributing poet who we have proudly published for well over ten years.  Singer has had almost 800 poems published in magazines, periodicals and online journals — 400 of which are jazz poems — and has recently self-published a Kindle edition of his book of jazz poetry called Poetic Jazz.

“Jazz poetry flows out with such ease,” Singer writes on his blog. “The people and places, the alleys and sawdust jazz clubs. The stories that bring jazz alive with horns and voices, from sadness and grief to highs at midnight and love gone wrong. The jazz is within us all. Find your poem and feel the music.”

 

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In This Issue

This issue features a roundtable discussion about how the world of religion may have impacted the creative lives of Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Also, previous winners of the Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest reflect on their winning story; three new podcasts from Bob Hecht; new collection of poetry; recommendations of recently released jazz recordings, and lots more.

Short Fiction

"The Wailing Wall" -- a short story by Justin Short

Interviews

Three prominent religious scholars -- Wallace Best, Tracy Fessenden and M. Cooper Harriss -- join us in a conversation about how the world of religion during the life and times of Langston Hughes (pictured), Billie Holiday and Ralph Ellison helps us better comprehend the meaning of their work.

Poetry

Nine poets contribute ten poems celebrating jazz in poems as unique as the music itself

Short Fiction

In celebration of our upcoming 50th Short Fiction Contest, previous contest winners (dating to 2002) reflect on their own winning story, and how their lives have since unfolded.

The Joys of Jazz

In this edition, award winning radio producer Bob Hecht tells three stories; 1) on Charlie Christian, the first superstar of jazz guitar; 2) the poet Langston Hughes’ love of jazz music, and 3) a profile of the song “Strange Fruit”

On the Turntable

25 recently released jazz tunes that are worth listening to…including Bobo Stenson; Medeski, Martin and Wood; Muriel Grossman and Rudy Royston

Features

Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Randy Brecker and Tom Piazza are among those responding to our question, "What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940's?"

Poetry

"Billie Holiday" -- a poem (with collage) by Steve Dalachinsky

Coming Soon

Thomas Brothers, Duke University professor of music and author of two essential biographies of Louis Armstrong, is interviewed about his new book, HELP! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration; also, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, author of An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden, in a conversation about the brilliant 20th Century artist

In the previous issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.

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