Poetry by Jon Wesick

November 14th, 2011

 

 

JULIE’S CD COLLECTION

 

1.
Saggy plaid polyester pants in white shoes
foxtrot with a pair of clip-on earrings,
while the elevator descends.
I stab the red emergency button.
The alarm bell rings. With bleeding fingers
I pry the sliding door open
and exit on the thirteenth floor.

2.
Given ten thousand years
chimpanzees randomly playing piano, bass, and saxophone
could produce something resembling a melody.
Until then it’s called avant-garde jazz.

3.
“I think you’ll find this acceptable.” Richard Nixon snaps his fingers.
A burly Secret Service agent in conservative suit and earphone
places a stuffed black Hefty bag on the carpet.
The guitarist in platform shoes reaches inside
and withdraws a wad of hundred-dollar bills.
He smiles, flicks his long hair from his eyes,
and says, “You can count on me, Sir.”

4.
“Come on, Billie! Let’s do the Hustle!”
Aunt Selma pries the boy’s white knuckles
from his death grip on the Naugahyde arm rest.
Flab jiggles from the legs that emerge
like yesterday’s bratwurst from her lime green miniskirt.
Like a dog on the way to a rabies shot
Billie jams his heels hard into the orange shag carpet.

5.
Drawn like piranhas to the scent of U.S. dollars
clones, playing Andean pan flutes, circle.
The unfortunate tourist lifts his wallet out of the melee.
His flailing arm sinks into the roiling river
of llamas, fedoras, and multicolored blankets.

6.
“What the hell am I doing here?” Sekou Sundiata asks.
He regards White America with midnight eyes
and chants of voodoo gods, bodegas,
and life back in the day.
Spiced with unconscious rhythms of Xhosa and Yoruba
his griot’s words shovel jewel cases into an empty Hefty bag,
cram it in a metal trash can, and clang the lid
with a crunch of crushed plastic.

 

JUST ANOTHER PUNK ROCKER WRITING ABOUT JAZZ

 

They must have materialized at the open mike
out of carbon and nitrogen in the air,
those poets you’d never see in a jazz club.
A guy in Roman-helmet-like Mohawk
reads three-chord rhymes about Mingus,
an MC in Phat Farm jeans
fires machine gun words about Miles,
and a woman in high collar and sensible shoes
chops Art Blakey into fourteen lines of ten syllables.

Seems you can’t be a real poet
unless you write about jazz.
Sid and Johnny Rotten dodging loogies in Dallas,
Jimi burning his guitar at Monterey Pop,
and Grandmaster Flash close to the edge
just won’t do.

So when the girl with the stud in her tongue
says Coltrane, I have to hear him
the way Jack and Allen did – a one-man Hallelujah Chorus,
his sax blowing eternity like Rumi’s reed flute,
notes hopping and skipping from step to step
up a staircase of rapture
to the backing of piano chords
and the pop and crackle of needle on vinyl.

But the literature of manual typewriters,
Benzedrine, and William Burroughs hats
has already been written. Where
is the poetry slathered in SPF 16
to protect from the Coachella sun,
the poetry of MP3 whose boots
are caked with Glastonbury mud?

 

About Jon Wesick

Jon Wesick is host of San Diego’s Gelato Poetry Series and is an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He has published over two hundred poems in journals such as The New Orphic Review, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. He has also published forty short stories. He has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.

 

Share this:

Comment on this article:

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

In this Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

Short Fiction

photo by Alysa Bajenaru
"Crossing the Ribbon" by Linnea Kellar is the winning story of the 51st Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Poetry

photo of Stan Getz by Veryl Oakland
Seventeen poets contribute to the Summer, 2019 collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, Michael Jarrett interviews producer Nat Hentoff about the experience of working with Charles Mingus at the time of Mingus’ 1961 album. Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus — recorded for Hentoff’s short-lived label Candid Records

Art

"Dreaming of Bird at Billy Bergs" - by Charles Ingham
“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Poetry

Painting of John Coltrane by Tim Hussey
“broken embouchure” — a poem by M.T. Whitington

Art

photo of Chet Baker by Veryl Oakland

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Yusef Lateef and Chet Baker

Interviews

photo by Francis Wolff, courtesy of Mosaic Records
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Poetry

photo from Pixabay
“The Fibonacci Quartet Plays Improv” — a poem by Gerard Furey

Short Fiction

“The Stories of Strange Melodies” a story by Vivien Li , was a finalist in our recently concluded 51st Short Fiction Contest.

In the previous issue

Michael Cuscuna
Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...

Contributing writers

Site Archive