“Billie Holiday” — a poem (with collage) by Steve Dalachinsky

January 7th, 2019

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“Billie Holiday” by Steve Dalachinsky

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Billie Holiday

someone’s special greatness hides inside us somewhere
like a strange fruit……..unexplainable
hard ripe rotten..fine..fractured but mellow
filled with lovedisappointment & solitude
& heavy likea rock in one’s heart

you may make it
or you may die in your room
overlooking the park….or an empty..bench
you may burn for a brief moment
like a candle
then melt away
or drop like the petals of a big white gardenia

& for now & always
the lady sings the blues –
still sings those stone-throated songs
those melodies of a long short life
she’s there somewhere
that twisted beautiful tortured soul
a musical literacy beyond the notes

in there..somewhere
whether you see it or not
inside somewhere
where someone’s special greatness
sings a deep deep song
somewhere deep inside
a deep deep song

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by Steve Dalachinsky

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7/17/67 – Berkeley, California

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Steve Dalachinsky is a New York downtown poet. He is active in the poetry, music, art, and free jazz scene. Dalachinsky’s main influences are the Beats, William Blake, The Odyssey, obsession, socio-political angst, human disappointment, music (especially Jazz), and visual art with leanings toward abstraction. Dalachinsky’s books include A Superintendent’s Eyes (Hozomeen Press 2000), his PEN Award Winning book The Final Nite & Other Poems: Complete Notes From A Charles Gayle Notebook 1987-2006 (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2006), a compendium of poetry written while watching saxophonist Charles Gayle perform throughout New York City in that time period, and Logos and Language, co-authored with pianist Matthew Shipp (RogueArt 2008) and Reaching Into The Unknown, a collaboration with French photographer Jacques Bisceglia (RogueArt 2009).

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For a complete biography, visit his Wikipedia page.

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Steve Dalachinsky has created many collages in honor of jazz music and musicians, as well as countless others that are not music-themed.  Select collages (accompanied by his poetry) will be published in ensuing issues of Jerry Jazz Musician.

These collages are for sale (and are inexpensive).  If you wish to inquire about their availability, you can contact Steve via email at skyplums@juno.com

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In This Issue

This issue features a roundtable discussion about how the world of religion may have impacted the creative lives of Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Also, previous winners of the Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest reflect on their winning story; three new podcasts from Bob Hecht; new collection of poetry; recommendations of recently released jazz recordings, and lots more.

Short Fiction

"The Wailing Wall" -- a short story by Justin Short

Interviews

Three prominent religious scholars -- Wallace Best, Tracy Fessenden and M. Cooper Harriss -- join us in a conversation about how the world of religion during the life and times of Langston Hughes (pictured), Billie Holiday and Ralph Ellison helps us better comprehend the meaning of their work.

Poetry

Nine poets contribute ten poems celebrating jazz in poems as unique as the music itself

Short Fiction

In celebration of our upcoming 50th Short Fiction Contest, previous contest winners (dating to 2002) reflect on their own winning story, and how their lives have since unfolded.

The Joys of Jazz

In this edition, award winning radio producer Bob Hecht tells three stories; 1) on Charlie Christian, the first superstar of jazz guitar; 2) the poet Langston Hughes’ love of jazz music, and 3) a profile of the song “Strange Fruit”

On the Turntable

25 recently released jazz tunes that are worth listening to…including Bobo Stenson; Medeski, Martin and Wood; Muriel Grossman and Rudy Royston

Features

Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Randy Brecker and Tom Piazza are among those responding to our question, "What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940's?"

Poetry

"Billie Holiday" -- a poem (with collage) by Steve Dalachinsky

Coming Soon

Thomas Brothers, Duke University professor of music and author of two essential biographies of Louis Armstrong, is interviewed about his new book, HELP! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration; also, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, author of An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden, in a conversation about the brilliant 20th Century artist

In the previous 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.

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