Poetry by Robert Farmer

April 3rd, 2013

 

 

 

RE: SOUTHERN ELEGY

Just two “good ole boys”,
Levon from the Arkansas delta, Harry south Georgia,
gone within a month of each other,
both with big obits in The New York Times.
Who said we don’t honor earthiness!

Wanderers who gathered in a complex country,
made some up, gave some back,
then settled down as venerated old coots:
Harry to college students and whiskey near a childhood home,
Levon to a Woodstock barn befitting his cotton-field voice.

Both carried the weight of gray-shacked country crossroads
in voice and words, standards now to document those times,
wild as a feast of snakes up on cripple creek
the night they drove old Dixie down.

 

 

RE: THE PERSON I KNEW

There were those Sundays in the 60’s
at the Village Vanguard,
soft background chatter and tinkling glassware
as your drone.

Gomez or the lost Lafaro your bassists
in sound now drawn up through time remembered
from secret sessions by an amateur recorder.

Quiet now, your waltz for Debby
was forever a requirement,
still fresh through the 70’s.
Were you ever without it,
a support through those drug-drenched years
spent bent strangely knome-like over keyboards?

All in the natural order of events,
the single set possible,
arranged by contingency
and properly fixed in place by poets
who turned out the stars when you left.

 

A NOTE TO CHALOFF

 

We’re told you chased the monkey off
before an early cancerous death,
your last Boston session in a wheelchair.

The pioneers died young you know
– except Dizzy and Miles.
Smack lent speed and skill
with triplets, flattened fifths,
then hung folks out like Faustus.

You probably thought
that over these sixty years
we’d lose your lines
as bop’s first baritone.
But yesterday I played back
through those throaty notes
to times in forty-nine
when sidemen were our heroes.

You’d be interested to know
that it turned out to be a revolution
not a musical cul-de-sac.
And some of us still remember
its young casualities.

 

 

 

 

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Your email address will not be published.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