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

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…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 19 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Branford Marsalis, Joe Martin, Scott Robinson, Allison Au and Warren Vache


In a special collection of poetry, eight poets contribute seventeen poems focused on stories about family, and honoring mothers and fathers

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob Hecht presents three very different stories; on Harlem Stride piano, Billy Strayhorn's end-of-life composition "Blood Count," and "Lester-ese," Lester Young’s creative verbal wit and wordplay.

Short Fiction

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories...

“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


“Thinking about Homer Plessy” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #127

Before his tragic early death, this trumpeter played with Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, and John Coltrane, and most famously during a 1961 Five Spot gig with Eric Dolphy (pictured). 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.


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

Coming Soon

Michael Cuscuna, the legendary record producer and founder of Mosaic Records, is interviewed about his life in jazz...Award-winning photographer Carol Friedman, on her career in the world of New York jazz photography

In the previous 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…

Contributing writers

Site Archive