“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.
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Share this:

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

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published.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

In This Issue

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 22 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Chris Potter, Sons of Kemet, Stephan Crump, Brittany Anjou, Julian Lage, Joey DeFrancesco and Antonio Sanchez

Poetry

Seventeen poets contribute 21 poems in this month’s edition…

The Joys of Jazz

In new podcasts, Bob Hecht tells three stories; one about Miles Davis’ use of space in his music, one on the mutual admiration society of Sinatra, Lady Day, and Lester Young, and the other about the train in jazz and blues music.

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art

Art

“Thinking about Ida B. Wells” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #126

In 1964, along with the orchestra of arranger Lalo Schifrin (pictured), this flutist/alto sax player recorded one of the first “Jazz Masses,” and soon after studied transcendental meditation in India. He would eventually become well known as a composer of music for meditation. Who is he?

Great Encounters

Dexter Gordon tells the story of joining Louis Armstrong’s band in 1944, and how they enjoyed their intermission time.

Art

In this edition of Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light,” photographs of Red Garland, Dizzy Gillespie and Rahsaan Roland Kirk are featured.

Short Fiction

"Strings of Solace," a short story by Kimberly Parish Davis

Interviews

Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Short Fiction

"And so we went to Paris," a short story by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Coming Soon

National Book Award winning author for non-fiction Jeffrey Stewart is interviewed about his book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke...Legendary producer, Blue Note Records discographer, and Mosaic Records co-founder Michael Cuscuna talks about his life in jazz.

In the previous issue

The question “What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?” was posed via email to a small number of prominent and diverse people, and the responses of Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who participated...Also, the publication of the winning story in our 50th Short Fiction contest; an interview with Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell; a collection of jazz poetry; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; the March edition of "On the Turntable," and lots more...Click here to be taken to the issue.

Contributing writers

Site Archive