Three poems by Phyllis Wax

December 19th, 2018

painting by Justin Bua

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Cool Blue

He leaned back, closed his eyes
and blew and knew
that next to him a string bass twirled,
was plucked and plinked, and the drum
was a follow-up man with a tin can
collecting coins from flat hands
meeting in the dark
to celebrate the soulful
sound of his breath

because the moon was full
and the night cool
and the music swirled
a witch’s brew in his head

Why else does a man blow
with his eyes closed and his head back
and his horn raised on a blue night
but to sob and moan in a rendezvous,
a sophisticated tryst,
with that orange glow
and its tidal tug
on his blood?

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Dianne Reeves

Not water pipes
or organ pipes
not Meerschaum or
briar pipesCertainly not
bagpipes….We hold
our breath as her perfect
pipes float in the hall

Higher, purer, sweeter
than a solitary flute
in the Bolivian altiplano
peaking in the Andes
plunging
to the bass range

Hear her wail
hear her scat
with the beat, the beat
the rhythm and the heat
of her band, clap your hands
stamp your feet
start to move in your seat

Africa weds the Andes
and we’re nodding blessings
jiggling legs
bobbing heads
drumming rapid in our hearts

In our mouths
sweet wedding cake
till she shimmies
till she shimmies
off the stage

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Blues Solo

I sleep alone

the sheets are cool
my feet cold

no body heat to blend with mine
to warm the bed, to heat these sheets
my man is gone

rolled in linens
like a mummy
still not warm

in my head
the clarinet sounds
its mellow moan

I squirm from side to side
lie prone and then supine

I sleep alone

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Phyllis Wax writes in Milwaukee on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Among the anthologies and journals in which her poetry has appeared are:  The Widows’ Handbook, Birdsong, Spillway, Peacock Journal, Surreal Poetics, Naugatuck River Review, New Verse News, Portside, and Star 82 Review. A Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, she has read in coffee houses, bars, libraries and on the radio. Her work has been exhibited with art quilts and weavings in a variety of venues around the state of Wisconsin as part of four poet/fiber artist collaborations.

She can be reached at: poetwax38@gmail.com

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4 comments on “Three poems by Phyllis Wax”

  1. These are three fine, very musical, very imagistic poems that sweep this reader along into a world filled with jazz and feeling. Ms. Wax’s work is a lovely discovery, a Christmas present unexpected and delightful.

    1. Thank you so much, Michael! As a poet yourself, you know how infrequently we know whether anyone has actually read our work and how they felt about it. I appreciate your words!

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