“Magnolia Blues” — a poem by David Lohrey

July 8th, 2019

.

.

 

.

.

Magnolia Blues

 .

There can be bebop and billowing skirts,
…..hot pastrami and cold beer, but only if
………we’re good.

 

That’s the catch. We’re weighed down by doubt.
…..Can all this wonder be had for free? It’s
………time to take stock.

 

All the pretty horses can’t put humpty dumpty
…..together again. It’s partly a matter of will
………power, sure.

 

It’s mostly a matter of power, pure and simple.
…..And the will is half-hearted. There’s no
………zeal. There’s no roll.

 

BBQ sauce, but no mustard. There are eggs, but
…..Benedict died last June of a stroke. Whoever
………said we could have it all, lied.

 

The billowing skirts were not the first to go, but
…..the girls get tired of playing. They’ve
………been recruited by the U.S. army.

 

Now women carry guns. Our next loss is jazz.
…..Without the blues, there’s no rhythm. The
………country has lost its beat.

 

Everyone is out of step. The problem
…..is not the booze. It’s the money. We’re all
………too rich for our own good. We’re unhappy.

 

Louis Armstrong was elated.  W.C. Handy, giddy.
…..Think back. You remember. Jazz was rollicking: horns
………toot-tooting, the pianist on his feet, the drums exploding.

 

We’re all miserable. Fattened up for slaughter. Now
…..we wait for the other shoe to drop, as the centipede
………crawls toward the exit.

 

We know it’s just a matter of time. It can’t go on like this forever.
…..We’ve become too refined, far too delicate,
………too fat for good music.

 

Anyway…no one has the oomph. It’s all petered out.
…..We’re out of gas. There’s an energy shortage,
………you know.

 

For the most part, pictures will be enough, for a while,
…..like those of farmers. Nobody wants to get his hands dirty,
………digging in flower beds, plowing, changing diapers.

 

No one wants to turn potatoes, feed the pigs or geld the stallions.
…..What is there to celebrate if there are no children?
………That’s the question.

 

If there’s no harvest, what’s the point of drinking? And
…..now they say there’s no purpose in planting flowers.
………The suburbs are obsolete, no pleasure in squirrels.

 

No need for dogs to bark. No need for evening walks. No
…..need for games of catch. Eliminate the lawns, they decree,
………which are nothing more than symbols of Farmer Brown.

 

There’ll be nothing to remember, not even the sound of crying babies.
…..Family life is finished. Dirty floors, mother’s milk, chicken pox
………are all a thing of the past.

 

Now the smell of grass must go. It’s no longer the Age of Aquarius;
…..it’s the age of exhaustion. We’re entering America’s very own
………Cultural Revolution. At the end of the day, they’ll be hell to pay.

 

It’s the age of recrimination. People stand around pointing fingers,
…..as the time French women were made to pay for bedding
………enemy soldiers. They were driven through the streets, naked.

 

It’s an age of exculpation. We all want to wash our hands of it.
…..The only music left is what we demand to see others face.
………Otherwise we want silence.

.

by David Lohrey

.

.

___

.

.

 

David Lohrey grew up in Memphis and graduated from University of California, Berkeley. David’s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Canada. His poetry can be found in literary journals in the US, .Australia,. the UK, .India, .Canada, and Malawi. His fiction can be read online at The Broke Bohemian, Terror House, Literally Stories, and others. ..David’s .The Other Is Oneself,. a study of 20th century .Postcolonial novelists, was published in 2017 in Germany. . .Machiavelli’s Backyard, his. first .collection of poetry, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. .His newest collection .Who Started the Fires? .is soon to be released. .He lives in Tokyo.

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this:

One comments on ““Magnolia Blues” — a poem by David Lohrey”

  1. David – Great beginning: “There can be bebop and billowing skirts”. I wish I’d thought of that! And then the blues.

Comment on this article:

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

In this Issue

Art by Russell Dupont
Twenty-eight poets contribute 37 poems to the Jerry Jazz Musician Fall Poetry Collection, living proof that the energy and spirit of jazz is alive — and quite well.

Interview

photo by Francis Wolff/© Mosaic Images
Interview with Paul Lopes, author of Art Rebels: Race, Class and Gender in the Art of Miles Davis and Martin Scorsese

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music, author Gerald Horne writes about the severe cultural and economic obstacles jazz musicians have encountered since the music's inception

Short Fiction

Photo/CC0 Public Doman
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #52 — “Random Blonde,” by Zandra Renwick

Poetry

Image by Matthias Gabriel from Pixabay
"Up in the Attic" -- a poem by Alan Yount

Jazz History Quiz #132

photo of Dizzy Gillespie by Brian McMillen
This legendary saxophonist has worked with Lionel Hampton, Johnny Hodges, Dizzy Gillespie (pictured), Art Blakey, and Art Farmer, and has become known as much for his compositions as the greatness of his horn playing, having written standards like “I Remember Clifford,” “Killer Joe,” and “Along Came Betty.” Who is he?

Essay

photo of Esbjorn Svensson Trio/Pkobel/Creative Commons
“The Trio That Should Have Reshaped Jazz” — an essay by Scott Archer Jones

Photography

photo of Jackie McLean by Veryl Oakland
Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Mal Waldron, Jackie McLean and Joe Henderson

Great Encounters

photo of Sidney Bechet by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
In this edition of "Great Encounters," Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

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

"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

"Jazz Samba"/Verve Records
In this edition, excerpted from Michael Jarrett's Pressed For All Time, legendary producer Creed Taylor remembers the 1962 Stan Getz recording, Jazz Samba

Interview

Photographer Carol Friedman
In an entertaining conversation that also features a large volume of her famous photography, Carol Friedman discusses her lifelong work of distinction in the world of jazz photography

Art

“Me, Thinking about Nona Faustine” — a photo-narrative by Charles Ingham

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Every Soul is a Circus," by Dig Wayne

Short Fiction

photo/Creative Commons CC0.
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, contributes a humorous short story, "Father Kniest: Jazz Priest"

In the Previous Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive