Poetry by Jillian Phillips

January 15th, 2011

Still life : Vase with Fourteen Sunflowers,

by Vincent Van Gogh

____________________________

 


Drunk


 

 

She was whiskey to him.
   Swirling around him.
   Curving over his tongue
       and into him.
The wicked spiciness burned his throat.

Her smoky, Irish laugh drowned him
   As she freed it to trip
   Over her teeth and out.
       Out into the open air, her laugh
Tumbled over him like an expert gymnast
       (a flick of the foot to bend the ear, but
       never misplacing a twirl to disrupt the rhythm).

She made him drunk with her dancing
   Twisted, traipsing feet
    Throwing up the hem of her skirt
       Falling back onto the floor like stones
Cast by the beat of a drum
    from an unseen neon jukebox.

Her scratchy voice tickled the corners of his mouth.
   The bite of her wit aimed at confusion
     And tried to chew the insides of his cheeks
       But tasted like a tonic fire.
And he wanted another sip.

He wanted
       one
                     more
                                   sip.


 

Sitting With Vincent


 

 

Perhaps your ear was not a gift
for a young mademoiselle,
but a sacrifice to the muse,
payment in kind, bloody and pulsating,
in return for the beauty of sunflowers
allowed to escape from your brush.
How was it you managed to evoke such
a beautiful sadness, a luminous tragedy,
with such a happy color as yellow?
I have seen your self-portrait,
the stubble, the hollowed, ruddy cheeks,
the bandages and stoicism.
But feel as if that was the painting of
your shell, the landscape of your façade,
simply a picture of what other people saw,
a cold blade cutting against the grain
forcing the split of your talent
and your mystery.

How true is it to say that the sunflowers
were a more accurate portrayal of your soul?
That they were a portrait of
what you saw deep within yourself?

 

 

 


 


Ella Fitzgerald in Her Living Room


 

 

I find comfort in a downpour.
The sound of intermittent pings
is almost a sonata, lulling me.
If Beethoven played on tin,
it would sound like the rain on my roof:

drip

    drip

       drip

          DROP!

His fifth symphony forming
puddles on the sidewalk
as I watch and listen
through my window.

 

 

 

About Jillian Phillips

Ms. Phillips’ work has appeared in NOTA and Cellar Door Anthology. Her short poetry collection “Reflections Made in Nature: A Pastoral Memoir” received an Honorable Mention awarded at the 2009 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention.

 

Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 22 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Chris Potter, Sons of Kemet, Stephan Crump, Brittany Anjou, Julian Lage, Joey DeFrancesco and Antonio Sanchez

Poetry

Seventeen poets contribute 21 poems in this month’s edition…

The Joys of Jazz

In new podcasts, Bob Hecht tells three stories; one about Miles Davis’ use of space in his music, one on the mutual admiration society of Sinatra, Lady Day, and Lester Young, and the other about the train in jazz and blues music.

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art

Art

“Thinking about Ida B. Wells” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #126

In 1964, along with the orchestra of arranger Lalo Schifrin (pictured), this flutist/alto sax player recorded one of the first “Jazz Masses,” and soon after studied transcendental meditation in India. He would eventually become well known as a composer of music for meditation. Who is he?

Great Encounters

Dexter Gordon tells the story of joining Louis Armstrong’s band in 1944, and how they enjoyed their intermission time.

Art

In this edition of Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light,” photographs of Red Garland, Dizzy Gillespie and Rahsaan Roland Kirk are featured.

Short Fiction

"Strings of Solace," a short story by Kimberly Parish Davis

Interviews

Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Short Fiction

"And so we went to Paris," a short story by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Coming Soon

National Book Award winning author for non-fiction Jeffrey Stewart is interviewed about his book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke

In the previous issue

The question “What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?” was posed via email to a small number of prominent and diverse people, and the responses of Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who participated...Also, the publication of the winning story in our 50th Short Fiction contest; an interview with Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell; a collection of jazz poetry; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; the March edition of "On the Turntable," and lots more...Click here to be taken to the issue.

Contributing writers

Site Archive