Literature » Poetry

Two jazz poems…by Michael L. Newell






when man said the wind man
blowing when does the wind do
its voodoo upon leaf and bud

bloody the morning the storm
warning it is on its way its windy
winding wickedly roaring crack

thunder and snap way paving
the air for torrents for sheets waving
water across a landscape bare of movement

save the inexorable march of water
from hill crest to plains vanishing point
he blew harder his sax pumping sound and air

through the fair lands deluged with storm
with the wicked humor of broken notes rediscovered
in new keys the keys of life the keys of change

the keys to who and what I am you may be
maybe the keys to the kingdom of lusty life
he blew and vanished into the club’s walls

and everyone left storming through the night
storming to the tunes reverberating in their heads
headed for home and a stormy night in a minor key


                  Tallinn, Estonia, Winter 2003






                (after Paolo Burzese)


“He let jazz curl
a french horn around his knees.”

His fingers, drumsticks, were
Buddy Rich, rat-a-tat, Philly Joe Jones, rat-tat-a-tat,
Max Roach, a-tat-a-tat

and his lips, slipped
into cymbals–all soft rhythm,
hissed promises of a night ahead, ah, but

his thoughts–all muted trumpet
and sax, sax, sax—mmm, baby!

Across the room she smiled, her wild
black hair the moan
of a slow trombone–

a two person quintet, they jammed
the night away.


(Previously published in Culture Counter Magazine).








Michael L. Newell is a retired secondary school English/Theatre teacher who currently lives on the south-central Oregon coast. He has had poems recently published in (among other places) Verse-Virtual, Culture Counter, The Iconoclast, Ship of Fools, and Red Eft Review.