“Apollo Blue’s Harp” — a poem by Ed Coletti

January 29th, 2019

.

.

.

.

Apollo Blue’s Harp

Apollo Blue, come blow harmonica.
The blues in the meadow, the brass in the horn.
The drum hammers beating where thunder is born.
Guitar clears its throat of a twang in the morn-
ing. No time exists where the boy sucks and blows.
Harp’s spirit singing wherever he goes.

The naming was the creation down in Birmingham, Alabama
when his mam and his pap had little Buster baptized
Apollo after that theater up there in Harlem in New York.
Buster Blue would have done just fine, but so little that
Apollo Blue would grow to know might of come from it.
They gave him an accordion like little Leadbelly’d played
before he found the guitar and his own voice.
That damned squunch box, boring, too much weight
too great a deal to learn so many notes all pushing and pulling.
But that first harmonica Buster found in the gutter, Oh!
Just his lips and his breath with the blues, soul and music!

He removed the accordion, the straitjacket.
He blew and he drew on the harp he had found
that continued to find him the rest of his life.
As full days and night hours blew through and by him,
Apollo Blue feared he’d better stop blowing
or soar way too high and lose grip on the earth.
Such fear of flying to where only God knew.
His choice was to stop or learn far too much.
He made his decision to never come down.
Leaving the projects and bully boys, became
one with his harp blowing G, C, or A.

His ancient namesake, the first Apollo, tested his bowstring
preparing to kill but healed birds and stags, and
enmity rose to find its own soul
soothed and music-saved from an adverse stringed bow
transformed to good, that sort of magic Apollo Blue
could do when he bent a note, tamping it down with
slight extra pressure like a prayer or
mystic dream, as he fell under the spell of such gods
as George “Harmonica” Smith, Little Walter and more
lately, of Rod Piazza, not to mention, from the pantheon,
Sonny Boy Williamson, James Cotton, and Charlie Musselwhite.

Play on, Apollo Blue,
……………………………………….play on.

.

by Ed Coletti

.

.

_____

.

 

 

Ed Coletti is a poet widely published internationally and he curates the popular blog “No Money In Poetry.” Additionally, Ed is a painter. middling chess player, and harmonica player. He lives with his wife Joyce in Santa Rosa, California.

.

Ed has news of a collection of poetry, of which he writes:

“Apollo Blue’s Harp And The God’s of Song takes off from my chap book Jazz Gods (from eight years ago) and adds further poems with musical themes including Rock, Classical, Blues, and much more Jazz.  It is a full-length collection and includes a character, Apollo Blue, who is a Sothern blues harp player who’s crossed paths with, and taught licks to, such as Dylan and Lennon.  Apollo Blue is not omnipresent here but does show up from time to time and at significant moments.  The book is divided into thematic sections each introduced by an applicable triolet. Apollo Blue’s Harp And The God’s of Song has gone through a long and convoluted publishing history, has been eagerly anticipated by a wide audience, and will be published during February 2019 (available through Amazon).”

.

.

,

,

 

Share this:

One comments on ““Apollo Blue’s Harp” — a poem by Ed Coletti”

  1. Mr. Coletti,

    This is a fine poem. Very cool. I like the imagery, the narrative voice, and the music of the poetic diction. The poem is alive. It sizzles. I also have long loved blues harmonica, and you make your poem sing like a lively blues harmonica. I salute your achievement.

Comment on this article:

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

In This Issue

Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...Also in this issue, in celebration of Blue Note’s 80th year, we asked prominent writers and musicians the following question: “What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums; a new collection of jazz poetry; “On the Turntable,” is a new playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings from six artists – Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian and Aaron Burnett; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Jazz History Quiz”; a new feature called “Pressed for All Time,”; a new photo-narrative by Charles Ingham; and…lots more.

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings by six artists -- Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano. Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian, and Aaron Burnett

Poetry

In this month’s collection, with great jazz artists at the core of their work, 16 poets remember, revere, ponder, laugh, dream, and listen

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob presents two stories, one on Clifford Brown (featuring the trumpeter Charlie Porter) and the other is part two of his program on stride piano, including a conversation with Mike Lipskin

Short Fiction

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories...

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer Creed Taylor about how he came to use tape overdubs during the 1957 Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross Sing a Song of Basie recording session

Art

"Thinking About Charlie Parker" -- a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #128

Although he was famous for modernizing the sound of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was his biggest hit while working for Dorsey (pictured) -- this arranger will forever be best-known for his work with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Who is he?

Great Encounters

In this edition, Bob Dylan recalls what Thelonious Monk told him about music at New York’s Blue Note club in c. 1961.

Art

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Stan Getz, Sun Ra, and Carla Bley.

Interviews

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

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

Coming Soon

"The Photography Issue" will feature an interview with jazz photographer Carol Friedman (her photo of Wynton Marsalis is pictured), as well as with Michael Cuscuna on unreleased photos by Blue Note's Francis Wolff.

In the previous issue

Jeffrey Stewart, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, is interviewed about Locke (pictured), the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 19 recommended recordings by five 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…

Contributing writers

Site Archive