Poetry by John Kaniecki

March 5th, 2013

 

 

 

The Blues Man

Popcorn snapping fingers
An emancipated heart
Sing for your victuals wage slave
Separate but equal Jim Crow iron walls
See yonder mansion, see yonder manger
As united in birth welded in life
Nailed to a cross
Agony as the soldier penetrates his side
Nobody’s seen the troubles I’ve seen
They call it the blues
In the chord of c

An Ode to Langston Hughes
by John Kaniecki

_____

Great “black” poet?
Is Robert Frost identified as “white” as snow?
I devoured every heart fired revolutionary syllable
Each righteous rectifying rhyme a mountainous memorial in time
Barefaced truth like Emit Till’s open casket
A little Harlem hustle humor
VIVA SPAIN!!! DEATH TO FASCISM!!! DEFEAT FRANCO!!!
It will be hard to white wash you!
Your ideological inspiration a bridge transcending tumultuous times
So many eager young eyes sharpened pencils ready to serve
Great “black” poet?
A POET CHISELED IN THE STONE OF THE AGES!!!

 

Going To Grenada

JFK was miles away to catch the plane
City in fright, security tight what a pain
Took off my belt and I mooned the guard
Never knew going to Grenada would be so hard

Going to Grenada
The Island in the sea
Going to Grenada
With my Love with me

Landed in the sun, really felt the heat
Maurice Bishop airport that name’s a treat
Long ago the man fought for all our dreams
Rose like an angel only to fall in screams

Going to Grenada
Revolution does survive
Going to Grenada
Our hopes are still alive

Family, friends, we are kinfolk one and all
Calypso, hip hop, reggae, prophets call
Times hard, money tight but hopes run high
Maurice is dead but dreams can never die

Music puts the Love in motion
Sunny beaches by the ocean
Riches here beyond compare
For all of us to share?

Going to Grenada
Can you read between the lines
Going to Grenada
Everything will be fine

My throat dry, belly empty, where is righteousness
Jesus was well until Judas gave his kiss
On that hill on that cross blood was shed for peace
The world could use another man like you Maurice

Going to Grenada
God I beg you for your grace
Going to Grenada
Help the human race

 

Peace

Hands folded carefully in prayer

Mumbling her words like God was there

Bless the poor and the homeless too

But there’s just one thing I want from you

Peace

Let it come my way
Peace

For it I pray

 

Writing Santa a list on paper white

It’s not long one thing she does write

I wish for the same thing year after year

I think Santa’s like God He just don’t hear

 

Peace

Let it come my way
Peace

For it I pray

 

Bring us peace Lord of Light

I beg you with all my might

Take this world and make it right

Give this Earth peace tonight

 

Peace

Let it come my way
Peace

For it I pray

 

Her friends they mock her in school

You know how children can be so cruel

Peace she proclaims peace for one and all

This song is but an echo to her call

Peace

Let it come my way
Peace

For it I pray

 

Featherleaf Speaks

 

The elders sat timid and meek
As FeatherLeaf rose to speak

“Why should I yearn for the stars when I have not learned the pebbles?”

“The still calm peace of the morning and the angry hurricane of evening are both the same wind.”

“Wisdom is not in words alone and can only be proven in the final ending.”

“Our blood was shed for the pale face invaders great wealth but the offender possesses no riches at all.”

“If you are so wise why cannot you see what you really are?”

“I call the stars my friends and the trees my brothers. I have lived more in a moment than you have in your many years.”

“When you were young the old were cruel and foolish. Now that you are old you have forgotten this lesson.”

“Young man I cannot understand you, I will admit to that. Perhaps you see what I am. I too must grow. Please do not be hasty to judge me before my time. But more important follow your dreams no matter what I say or do. You owe this much to yourself.”

“They say you cannot know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes. You cannot walk in my shoes. I walk barefoot.”

“I am a brother to the oppressed. My mind is yellow, my heart is red, my soul is black and my skin is pale.”

“Do not tell me your story all at once, my people; my heart cannot bare that much sorrow. I will not promise you a happy ending; I do not desire to lie to you. I can only give you my tears and blood.”

“The pale man’s Jesus is the greatest wickedness of Satan. If you doubt this for but a moment not one ray of light of truth is in you. The real Jesus is another matter.”

“It is better to die now and perish bravely for that which we cherish and Love. We shall meet death soon enough, let us do so with a smile on our faces.”

“The biggest mistake we can make is to underestimate the Love of the Creator.”

“The pale man’s words were spoken in the presence of the Wind. The Spirit has heard every utterance. The pale man laughs secure thinking he has cheated us and has escaped justice. He is more foolish then a farmer planting seed in the snow.”

“Do you think He did not know the misery of the world to come that He formed?”

“They cling on hard to prolong their existence but they have never lived.”

“War will never bring peace. One reaps what one sows. If war could bring peace we would have had peace in abundance cause God knows we have had enough war.”

“’Every journey begins with a first step,’ spoke the man thinking he was so wise. ‘What a fool,’ said the Eagle to the Salmon.”

“As my thoughts turn to you, the warm rays of the sun glisten in radiant beauty through the icicle shining vivid colors as the water drips reforming my substance, creating in me something greater and stronger than what I am.”

And finally after all this he spoke and said this,

“Listening with wisdom is better than speaking with wisdom.”

And so of all those who heard,
We dared not utter another word.

 

Tommy

Tommy sweeps the floor
Content at his task
Is it wrong to ask
For a little more

A temporary worker at minimum wage
Not exactly where you’d expect to find
A brilliant mind
And a poet for the age

The ghetto it has a life of its own
Secrets that must be lived to be known
The drugs, the guns, the gangs, they are a danger
But there is an ailment far stranger
The desperate feeling that life is passing by
That makes one reach out and yearn
Until on a twisted road one makes a turn
And understands so much of reality is a lie
That nothing but Love can really satisfy
And one comes to embrace what they deny

Circumstance and chance they come into play
A pauper, a king he could be
If he was born in the right family
Life is just that way

So Tommy makes sure the warehouse is clean
A cog in an inhuman, uncaring machine
Tommy has done his time
Been on both sides of the gun
And when all is said and done
His is not the greatest crime

I remember Job when things turned worse
In his integrity his Creator he did not curse
But if Job was young
Would he have held is tongue?
And if Jesus was born to a single crack addicted teen
What would his fate have been?
Either way there would have been a cross to bear
But either way do you care?
The King of Kings or a dejected bum
The savior of the world or a casualty of the slum

So Tommy pushes a pile of dirt
Not a lawyer, not a doctor, nor an engineer
But if he was he might fear
What he sees in the mirror
Is it clearer?
Do you hurt?
Or is it not worth a moment of your thought
Truly then this poem is naught
To you or me
And especially
Tommy

 

 

 

The Wind

Who taught the wind to blow?
Was it the birds?
Was it the trees?
That’s not what I heard
Could you tell me please?

Who taught the sun to shine?
Its warmth and beauty so fair
It’s not yours it’s not mine
It’s for all to share

Who taught the rain how to fall?
To bring life to one and all

Isn’t it plain to see?
It was the God of Eternity

 

 

Roll On Mississippi

Roll On Mississippi
Flow to the endless sea
Roll On Mississippi
You gotta fight to be free

It starts with one tear drop
A broken heart it’s source
And as it flows on its course
Ain’t nothing can make it stop

Roll On Mississippi
Flow to the endless sea
Roll On Mississippi
You gotta fight to be free

Peace is like a river
Love it will deliver
The river is a friend
Its life will never end

Roll On Mississippi
Flow to the endless sea
Roll On Mississippi
You gotta fight to be free

 

 

Che

Che
Do they know who you are
Who sell your image today
On shirts at store and bizarre
Do they care
Are they aware
Do they share
Your revolutionary views
Can they sing the blues

For you were one to choose
A volunteer
Who held the people dear
And lived without fear

Che
I cannot walk your way
But I share
The Loving care
Yet let it be told
That I too hold
Revolution
As a solution
The battle to set men free
Begun at Calvary

The Cross Was Not Some Golden Trinket to Be Worn By Hypocrites and Liars

Suffering my son it’s the way of the cross
Explains the priest in condescending fashion
The holy man don’t serve God he serves the boss
And does so with utmost zealous passion
Yet despite his hypocrisy his words are true
I am willing to pay it all for you

If you are hungry come share my bread
If you are tired come and take my bed
If you are lonely I am willing to talk
If you are lost join me as I walk
We must be united brethren one and all
So we will triumph when the moment calls
When the moment calls
With our backs against the walls
When the goons and the guard
Presses against us real hard
And threatens our lives to end
I will still be your friend

I cannot promise streets of gold and a royal throne
But I pledge you will never be alone
And if my life is snuffed out in death
My Spirit will ride upon the wind’s breath
Righteousness comes not from a priest
It comes from the service and gifts of the least
I desire not money, nor fortune, nor fame
I only wish to love others
Can you be with me and do the same
Then we will be sisters and brothers

 

 

 

Born to Chase the Wind

The dusty old trail is calling me on
Come the morning and I will be gone
And all that will be left of you and me
Will just be a pleasant memory
I never made a promise to you my love
I didn’t take an oath to God above
I’ll remember you I tell you no lie
At least until the next gal comes by

Well I was born to chase the wind
It’s such a sad life my friend
Yeah I was born to chase the wind
And I see that it’s blowing again

I got a pack with a couple of things
I never know what tomorrow brings
Maybe sunshine or clouds overhead
I hope I’m lucky enough to find a bed
No I ain’t a bum don’t you say so
I’m a wandering worker a regular hobo
I’ll clean your house or wash your car
Then I’ll relax and play my guitar

Well I was born to chase the wind
It’s such a sad life my friend
Yeah I was born to chase the wind
And I see that it’s blowing again

My roof is the sky
On green grass I lie
Too tired to weep
Gently I sleep
Dreams inside my mind
Of some better time
Then comes the morn
And I’m back on my journ

Well I was born to chase the wind
It’s such a sad life my friend
Yeah I was born to chase the wind
And I see that it’s blowing again

With you good sir I’ll travel a while
Pass the whiskey and make me smile
I can tell you a tale or sing you a song
It really helps that the liquor is strong
Ever since Adam when he ate from the tree
All that man knew was misery
Talk about woman I think about Eve
If it weren’t for her we’d never grieve

Well I was born to chase the wind
It’s such a sad life my friend
Yeah I was born to chase the wind
And I see that it’s blowing again

Well one day I shall enter my rest
I’ll look God in the eye cause I’ve done my best
I may go to heaven I may go to hell
The future’s uncertain who can tell
But this I know as a solid fact
I’ll have good times for me to look back
Yes I’ll have just one request in the end
O God Allmighty let me catch the wind

Well I was born to chase the wind
It’s such a sad life my friend
Yeah I was born to chase the wind
And I see that it’s blowing again
And I see that it’s blowing again

 

 

 

My Summer Friend

Summer came and summer went
Days of endless laughter spent
Wear your sweater weather’s cool
Dust off your books back to school
Say farewell goodbye time to part
You’ll live forever in my heart

Summer’s dying
A new horizon
Our time will come again
My summer friend

Life is a voyage a long trail
We succeed and often fail
Walking with you was fantastic
In a summer time of magic
A season I journeyed with you
I wish you skies ever blue

Summer’s dying
A new horizon
Our time will come again
My summer friend

Leaves brown fall is here
You’re gone but often near
Though the weather’s unkind
Your still here in my mind
And I say to you today
You’re still bright as a summer day

Summer’s dying
A new horizon
Our time will come again
My summer friend

Share this:

3 comments on “Poetry by John Kaniecki”

Comment on this article:

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

In This Issue

Painting of Clifford Brown by Warren Goodson
The 43 poets who contribute to the Summer Collection of jazz poetry communicate their heartfelt passion for the artistry and inspiration found in jazz music, and help readers, in the words of Art Blakey, “wash away the dust of everyday life” – a special gift to share during this restless summer of discontent…and hope.

Interview

photo courtesy John Bolger Collection
Philip Clark, author of Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time, discusses the enigmatic and extraordinary pianist, composer, and band leader, whose most notable achievements came during a time of major societal and cultural change, and often in the face of critics who at times found his music too technical and bombastic.

Publisher’s Notes

Grant Park, Portland, Sep 16, 2020
On a challenging summer in Portland, the passing of Stanley Crouch, and upcoming opportunities for writers

Great Encounters

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons. In this edition, Will Friedwald, author of Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Life and Music of Nat King Cole, writes about the 1940 Lionel Hampton/King Cole Trio RCA Victor recording sessions.

Interview

photo of James Baldwin by Allan Warren
In our interview with Nicholas Buccola, author of The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America, the author tells the story of the historic 1965 Cambridge Union debate between Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and Buckley, a staunch opponent of the movement and founder in 1955 of the leading conservative publication, National Review. The evening’s debate topic? “The American dream is at the expense of the American Negro.”

Poetry

Mood Indigo by Matthew Hinds
An invitation was extended recently for poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season. 14 poets contribute to the first volume of collected poetry.

Poetry

photo by Russell duPont
The second volume of poetry reflecting this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season features the work of 23 poets

Short Fiction

photo FDR Presidential Library & Museum
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #54 — “A Failed Artist’s Paradise” by Nathaniel Neil Whelan

Features

Red Meditation by James Brewer
Creative artists and citizens of note respond to the question, "During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

Interview

Ornette Coleman 1966/photo courtesy Mosaic Images
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Ornette Coleman: The Territory And The Adventure author Maria Golia discusses her compelling and rewarding book about the artist whose philosophy and the astounding, adventurous music he created served to continually challenge the skeptical status quo, and made him a guiding light of the artistic avant-garde throughout a career spanning seven decades.

Photography

photo by Veryl Oakland
In this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer and Johnny Griffin are featured

Poetry

Frits De Jong / CC0
“Nocturne in a Whirling Fan” — a poem by Joel Glickman

Humor

painting of Louis Armstrong by Vakseen
In Dig Wayne's "Iconolast," Louis Armstrong is responsible for saving the lives of every man, woman and child on the ball bearing line at the Radio Flyer wagon factory...

Poetry

photo by John Vachon/Library of Congress
“Climate Change” — Ten poems in sequence by John Stupp

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time – the author Philip Clark writes about the origins of the book, and his interest in shining a light on how Brubeck, “thoughtful and sensitive as he was, had been changed as a musician and as a man by the troubled times through which he lived and during which he produced such optimistic, life-enhancing art.”

Interview

NBC Radio-photo by Ray Lee Jackson / Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, acclaimed biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman) talks about his book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius, and Berlin's unparalleled musical career and business success, his intense sense of family and patriotism during a complex and evolving time, and the artist's permanent cultural significance.

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Maria Golia’s Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure – excerpted here in its entirety – the author takes the reader through the four phases of the brilliant musician’s career her book focuses on.

Art

Art by Charles Ingham
"Charles Ingham's Jazz Narratives" connect time, place, and subject in a way that ultimately allows the viewer a unique way of experiencing jazz history. This edition's narratives are "Nat King Cole: The Shadow of the Word," "Slain in Cold Blood" and "Local 767: The Black Musicians’ Union"

Interview

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection
Richard Crawford’s Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music is a rich, detailed and rewarding musical biography that describes Gershwin's work throughout every stage of his career. In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Crawford discusses his book and the man he has described as a “fresh voice of the Jazz Age” who “challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide.”

Jazz History Quiz #140

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Although he had success as a bandleader in the 1930’s, he is best known for being manager of Harlem’s Minton’s Playhouse (where Thelonious Monk was the pianist) during the birth of bebop. Who was he?

Interview

photo unattributed/ Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview with The Letters of Cole Porter co-author Dominic McHugh, he explains that “several of the big biographical tropes that we associate with Porter are either modified or contested by the letters,” and that “when you put together these letters, and add our quite extensive commentary between the letters, it creates a different picture of him.” Mr. McHugh discusses his book, and what the letters reveal about the life – in-and-out of music – of Cole Porter.

Interview

photo by Fred Price
Bob Hecht and Grover Sales host a previously unpublished 1985 interview with the late, great jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, who talks about Miles, Kenton, Ornette, Tristano, and the art of improvisation...

Pressed for All Time

A&M Records/photo by Carol Friedman
In this edition, producer John Snyder recalls Sun Ra, and his 1990 Purple Night recording session

Interview

photo by Bouna Ndaiye
Interview with Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

Poetry

The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy.

Spring Poetry Collection

A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Spring, 2020 Edition There are many good and often powerful poems within this collection, one that has the potential for changing the shape of a reader’s universe during an impossibly trying time, particularly if the reader has a love of music. 33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring. (Featuring the art of Martel Chapman)

“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

In the Previous Issue

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music. These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.

In an Earlier Issue

photo 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…

Coming Soon

photo of Erroll Garner by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
The historian and most eminent jazz writer of his generation Dan Morgenstern joins pianist Christian Sands -- the Creative Ambassador of the Erroll Garner Jazz Project -- in a conversation about Garner's historic legacy. Also…an autumn collection of poetry; Will Friedwald, author of Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Life and Music of Nat King Cole is interviewed about the legendary pianist and vocalist; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction, poetry, and lots more in the works...

Contributing writers

Site Archive