Literature » Poetry

A collection of poetry celebrating love and jazz

“Dancing Cranes” by David Tovey





                                                            (for The PJQ Quintet)

by Michael L. Newell


Trumpet and Voice roam together
                              Sax gusts above
Piano Keys
                     spill and tumble (a mountain creek
or lover filled with abandon)    Love Her     raps Drum

ice cubes swing
                                         floorboards dance
                                                       a cartoon

every marriage needs witnesses and we nod
clap our hands     stomp our feet     such noisy guests
a wonder we’re allowed to stay

silence tightens breathing
we wonder if more’s to come…

tipping the waiter we imagine
a collection for lovers
and grin foolishly

outside the night is filled
with cigarette smoke     lightning
and Lithia Creek swirling over rocks
and wooden supports of the Vintage Inn

we sit on our car’s hood for hours
with friends
                       we pretend
we’re a traveling band     our hands
shape imaginary notes

ah love love crazy love   nothing quite like it
for igniting the blood   you and I are muted trumpet
softly singing of night and day   swirling sax celebrating
what is and is to come   sensuous guitar and rippling piano
all suggestive of what could be   all suggesting the night
is ours   and the wind whispers of the hours to come





by Michael L. Newell


Arturo Sandoval’s trumpet mourns “The Windmills of Your Mind”
on a stereo, notes floating to the street below where an aged couple
of sixty or so slowly glide arm in arm through an early spring evening
that is livened by a cool breeze blowing her hair across his grizzled beard,
as they lightly rest head against head and smile at the elegiac music
that sings of what was and was lost, what might have been and wasn’t,
while they have overcome and live in quiet joy at what is and will be,
each day a duet of memory, hope, loss redeemed, and love that endures.




Michael L. Newell, an expatriate English/Theatre teacher for twenty years, retired to the south-central Oregon coast in 2014. Among his published works are Traveling without Compass or Map (Bellowing Ark Press, 2006), A Long Time Traveling (Four-Sep Publications, 2004), Seeking Shelter (Four-Sep Publications, 2004), and A Stranger to the Land (Garden Street Press, 1997). He has loved jazz for over fifty years.