“Rainy Afternoon in Kigali (with the Blues)” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

May 3rd, 2018

 

 
 

RAINY AFTERNOON IN KIGALI (WITH THE BLUES)

 

The wind blew all afternoon,
blue my mood, moody the blues
on the box, bleak and blue when
Robert Johnson took over the airwaves;
the wind blew louder and then
Paul Butterfield’s mouth harp grew louder
and bluer than even my mood of desolation
which mirrored the sky darkening

outside my open window, rain
blowing in, thunder rumbling; then
Jerry Garcia re-inventing the guitar
blue and heartbreaking and new
and old and wild and timeless,
as are the hills of Kigali outside
drenched in downpour, lightning,
and drumming on roofs near and far;

ah blessed the weather, blessed
the blues, blessed all music of
passionate restraint which knows
the beat beat beat of hearts all through
a poverty stricken hard-working
city with a bloody history of death
seeking redemption day by day;
and the rain is raving, and so are

Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton
playing a wild jazzy New Orleans blues
mourning rejoicing dancing weeping–
it is all life life life, and so is the rain
reminding one and all from where
we came (that rocking cradle of Whitman’s).
When silence falls, I am at peace.
Soon the night, soon a welcoming silence.

 

                              Kigali, Rwanda, January 4, 2013

 

 
________
 
 
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.
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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In This Issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.

Features

In this edition of Reminiscing in Tempo,, Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Piazza, Gary Giddins, Randy Brecker, Michael Cuscuna, Terry Teachout and many others answer the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite recordings of the 1940’s?”

Interviews

Interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins, author of the new book "Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940 - 1946"

Poetry

Eight poets — John Stupp, Aurora Lewis, Michael L. Newell, Robert Nisbet, Alan Yount, Roger Singer, dan smith and Joan Donovan — write about the era of World War II

The Joys of Jazz

Award winning radio producer and host Bob Hecht shares his love of jazz through his podcasts on his site “The Joys of Jazz.” In this edition, he tells two stories; the history of the virtual anthem of World War II, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and the friendship and musical rapport of Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

Short Fiction

Hannah Draper of Ottawa, Ontario is the winner of the 49th Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award. Her story is titled "Will You Play For Me?"

Coming Soon

Three prominent scholars in a conversation about the lives of Billie Holiday, Ralph Ellison, and Langston Hughes (pictured)

Contributing writers

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