Poetry by Roger Singer

May 26th, 2013





Ears grasped
For the
In her sound
Dripping hard
And heavy
With soul
A righteous
Pain she
Earned from
Long nights
And bad kisses
Tired eyes and
Wrong desires
Begged for
The shelter
Of a soft
Listening to
Broken dreams
Rupturing from
The darkness
Of her burdens
As the jazz
She carries
Drains from





A righteous slam
From busy hands
Stung the cymbals
Into sizzle
Driving the air
With sound like mice
Scratching to
Escape into
Unknown parts
Delivering the noise
As the music
Banged with beats
And snapped
From fingers wild
Like jungle animals
Smelling smoke
And scattering
From danger
Seeking shelter
While sparks
Of jazz fell
Burning a message
Greater and stronger
Than the wet
Of water.





From the end
Of that horn
That brassy cool
Boiling over
Fat steaming
Vault of notes
Runs the pain
That makes you
Wakes you
Sets you on
Your feet.

It’s the blood
Of jazz
Flowing like rivers
From a soul
Bruised with love
Hurt with smiles
From eyes
Deep with want
And fingers hungry
With reach.

Blow that horn
And let the people
Fall under
Your breathing spell
Of music
Welling up
Big with bold
Burning sweet
Long into night
As stars
Bow to you.



She lay flat
And captured
By the unfolding
Waves of jazz
Rolling with pounding
Onto her face
With eyes closed
Her soul stumbles
Blindly in
A storm of music.

Thundering drums
Call her, lead her
Into a jungle
Deep where hands
And arms like hers
Lift up into
Loud air
Tumbling the notes
With fingers
As they pass.

Her head and hair
Drift with sway,
Loving the place
She is in.





The air split to
Cut fast
By notes
Hot like knives
Slipping through butter
As the band
Bright with shining
Brassy with gold
Brought the weight
Of sound
Heavy onto ears
Of dancers
Bodying up
Their arms reached with hold
And fingers grasped with tight
As legs alighted
Into the heat
Of a jazzy fire
Lifting up and over
Like hands praising
And waking
Sleeping angels
On heavens high watching the jive
Smoothly release below
Under a fat
Silver moon.

Share this:

2 comments on “Poetry by Roger Singer”

  1. Roger has a feel for Jazz–the sound, the music, tempo and jargon. Each of his poems grind out the message in resounding tones. If he is not a Jazz aficionado (which I suspect he is), he has a knack for extracting the marrow from the music he hears!

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published.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

In this Issue

Art by Russell Dupont
Twenty-eight poets contribute 37 poems to the Jerry Jazz Musician Fall Poetry Collection, living proof that the energy and spirit of jazz is alive — and quite well.

Short Fiction

Photo/CC0 Public Doman
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #52 — “Random Blonde,” by Zandra Renwick


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


photo of Esbjorn Svensson Trio/Pkobel/Creative Commons
“The Trio That Should Have Reshaped Jazz” — an essay by Scott Archer Jones


Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Mal Waldron, Jackie McLean and Joe Henderson

“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

"Jazz Samba"/Verve Records
In this edition, excerpted from Michael Jarrett's Pressed For All Time, legendary producer Creed Taylor remembers the 1962 Stan Getz recording, Jazz Samba


Photographer Carol Friedman
In an entertaining conversation that also features a large volume of her famous photography, Carol Friedman discusses her lifelong work of distinction in the world of jazz photography


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


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


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.


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

Short Fiction

photo/Creative Commons CC0.
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, contributes a humorous short story, "Father Kniest: Jazz Priest"

In the Previous 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…

Contributing writers

Site Archive