Poetry by Michael Keshigian

April 1st, 2013



This morning as the snow fell
upon the wandering arms of a giant pine,
I couldn’t help but notice
its rhythm and intensity
and how it matched the dose of Desmond
that played on a disc,
how his soothing sound and affective dynamics
followed the white trail from the sky,
falling easily upon the grass,
on the blacktop, the slanted roofs,
and the curved angles of the lawn furniture
forgotten around the pool,
as if he sat here
to witness the scene with sax in hand,
then chose to describe it
with his embellishment
of Brubeck’s rhapsodic intro
to Strange Meadow Lark.
Of course, he could have been
describing the rain
or the leaves dancing in the wind
and for that matter
capture any emotion
with a pulse and melody
emanating from the vast white room
of his imagination.
Perhaps, if I were to sit here
in silence and focus a whisper
of a whistle
to the beat of my heart,
the snow might eventually
dance with me as well.





The problem with music, he realized
as he gazed at the Tanglewood stars
flat on his back upon the dewy lawn,
the problem is that it encourages
the performance of more music,
more imitation on the stage,
more latent entertainers
in search of fame,
attempting to release an emotion
while they crooned for acknowledgement.
It will never end
unless the day finally arrives
when we have utilized
all the notes and sounds
in every possible chord and cluster combination
on every instrument and voice
musical or otherwise
and there is nothing left to do
but close our stave notebooks
and listen to our finite interpretations.
Music instills passion, exalts omnipotence
or fills us with desperation
and subjects us to the bleak corners of existence
but mostly it is a catalyst
to perform on any dimly lit stage
where we might allow
that little needle in the brain
to touch the plastic groove
as we fantasize.
At times, we might even crack
the musical vault
and help ourselves
to a handful of famous melodies,
a merry band of tune thieves
whistling jingles that belonged to Mozart and Bach,
fragments we played in the ensemble
through elementary school
when progress and satisfaction
were the goals.





I watched them gig
in the pit
playing funky jazz licks
in modal timbres
made me squirm.

I thought,
I’ll blow this place
when this babe be-bopped from behind
hands in my hair
said we can really groove.

I danced through the night
till light
cut a ray
through her ceramic face

cracking beauty
into puzzle fragments.
she started to sing
the blues.


Share this:

Comment on this article:

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

In This Issue

Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...Also in this issue, in celebration of Blue Note’s 80th year, we asked prominent writers and musicians the following question: “What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums; a new collection of jazz poetry; “On the Turntable,” is a new playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings from six artists – Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian and Aaron Burnett; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Jazz History Quiz”; a new feature called “Pressed for All Time,”; a new photo-narrative by Charles Ingham; and…lots more.

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings by six artists -- Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano. Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian, and Aaron Burnett


In this month’s collection, with great jazz artists at the core of their work, 16 poets remember, revere, ponder, laugh, dream, and listen

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob presents two stories, one on Clifford Brown (featuring the trumpeter Charlie Porter) and the other is part two of his program on stride piano, including a conversation with Mike Lipskin

Short Fiction

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #51 — “Crossing the Ribbon,” by Linnea Kellar

“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 an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer Creed Taylor about how he came to use tape overdubs during the 1957 Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross Sing a Song of Basie recording session


“Thinking about the Truesdells” — a photo-narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #128

Although he was famous for modernizing the sound of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was his biggest hit while working for Dorsey (pictured) -- this arranger will forever be best-known for his work with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Who is he?

Great Encounters

In this edition, Bob Dylan recalls what Thelonious Monk told him about music at New York’s Blue Note club in c. 1961.


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 Stan Getz, Sun Ra, and Carla Bley.


Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

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

Coming Soon

"The Photography Issue" will feature an interview with jazz photographer Carol Friedman (her photo of Wynton Marsalis is pictured), as well as with Michael Cuscuna on unreleased photos by Blue Note's Francis Wolff.

In the previous issue

Jeffrey Stewart, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, is interviewed about Locke (pictured), the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 19 recommended recordings by five 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…

Contributing writers

Site Archive