Roger Singer, our most prolific and accomplished contributing poet, recently submitted three new poems for our consideration, which we proudly publish here. Singer reports that he has now had almost 800 poems published in magazines, periodicals and online journals — 400 of which are jazz poems — and has recently self-published a Kindle edition of his book of jazz poetry called Poetic Jazz.
“Jazz poetry flows out with such ease,” Singer writes on his blog. “The people and places, the alleys and sawdust jazz clubs. The stories that bring jazz alive with horns and voices, from sadness and grief to highs at midnight and love gone wrong. The jazz is within us all. Find your poem and feel the music.”
photo by Lee Tanner
LITTLE LIZA JANE
Sing me up. Bring the jazz
for the baptizing of souls,
living strong, breathing cool
fires from river running out of
the Ohio snaking down mightily
to Louisiana where the steps
get wide and songs speak
of folks left behind, walking
river banks, looking south,
humming the tunes I know,
lifting my blood to Little
Liza Jane while horns push out
the best of brass and snares
scratch a life of rusty and clean
never short of snapping fingers,
tipping hats and running out of kitchens
to the opening of sounds spreading
from windows, washing the air
sweeter than the dawn of bands
making the street cars hurry to town.
Bring close a pocket full of mercy and
mixed hours of worshipped nights,
where sweaty air and empty glasses
make the place.
Fill me on the jazz. The blanket of sound.
The family calling me by name, holding
me in tears and joyful when my plates are full.
The back stairs know my step; the music
of my song, the angle of a smile, the justice
of the eyes and the softness of my hands.
I labor for night, encouraging the stars to fall
and a moon to sliver onto the front porch.
I am complete in the stillness.
I know where I received the
The Big Easy baptized me with
night, blessing me with jazz,
filling my cup in City Park
where benches hold court and
whispered spirits and suitcases
full of dreams speak the Creole
with gumbo warming the soul as
I wander to through Jackson Square
and past magnolias where French
Quarters fills my pockets and light
my way to Preservation Hall
With horns alive pulsing and jiving
Like the pop of jam and sweet milk
flowing to a wind on the leeward side
of great water coming from the north
I turn to the back street of every place
honoring the kingdom of sound as my
shoes walk a beat, slapping the upside
of night toward the next Po’boy with
the hots for the cool of me.