Poetry by Ronald Charles Epstein

June 9th, 2013


Whitney Houston, R.I.P.

The toxicologist’s report prepared
to name the steadfast demon
that finally wrestled Whitney
to the ground.




Buses Are Like Women

To the crafty man,
buses are like women-
miss one and another
will always come along.

To the sneaky rider,
women are like buses,
leave yours, then board the one
that runs the faster route.




Janet Goes to Laos

Janet goes to Laos,
her folks are filled with dread,
but do you think they would suggest
she see Detroit instead?




A Match Made/”Indie” Movies

Roadie: Jimmy Testagros,
fired “roadie”,
returns to Queens and
reconnects with high school friend
who’s now married.

Young Adult: Mavis Gary,
unemployed children’s author,
returns to Minnesota town,
then pursues her high school love
with a wife and newborn kid.

Repertory theater managers
will schedule these features
in a future double bill.

Smarties viewers imagine scenarios
that unite these damaged souls.




What Happens in Toronto

A Mississippi mayor,
visiting Toronto,
gets outed by his
sex shop bill.

What happens in Vegas,
stays in Vegas.
What happens in Toronto…
goes viral.




Monkey in the Middle Class

This year, I really got the shaft,
all thanks to MF Global.
Soon, at work or at the mall,
I’ll meet an angry flash mob.

Let’s face it,
I’m a monkey in
the middle class.




The Loony Linguist


A student named Norman Everson
flunked his first-year French
and struggled with his Spanish.

He speaks fluent Klingon
and excels in Na’vi.

Meet the loony linguist,
articulate in gibberish.




Board of Health Closure

John’s favorite
gourmet grocery store
was shut down by
the Board of Health.

Relieved, John recalls
that he had bought
the Sunday Times
but next day,
simply threw it out-




A Photo Opportunity

The sparrow hovers
by the bedroom window-
close-up, face front,
fluttering its wings.

So this is why God
created cell phone cameras.





When Richard Dreyfuss
was summarily dismissed
from the French army,
his epaulettes and brass buttons
were ripped off his uniform,
his ceremonial sword
was broken in two
and then he was transported
to Devil’s Island.

Whoops! That’s Alfred Dreyfus —
Richard’s a working actor.

Mind you, when he does retire,
he may be sent to Devil’s Island —
Assisted Living Facility.



Driving While Distracted


Eating, drinking,
texting, sexting —
all distract
today’s drivers.

Who gets pulled over
for reading a book?


The Eighties Activist and the Campus Smartass


“Did you know…”,
cried the campus activist
“…that the cafeteria’s microwave
and Cruise missile components
are produced by Litton Industries?”

“Does that mean…”
inquired the campus acitivist,
“…that if I turn this knob
to the max,
my submarine sandwich
flies to Moscow,
landing in President Brezhnev’s lap”?


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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…

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