“Ida” — a poem by Kristofer Collins

November 20th, 2019



Image by Mateusz Wyszyński from Pixabay



………..for Adam Zagajewski


I remember a Polish jazz combo I once saw in a movie
about Jews and nuns and suicide. It was after the war
and the band played in basement clubs – bass, drums,
a tenor sax. It must have taken place in the early 1960s,
I remember they mentioned Coltrane. It could have been
1939 or 1944, though, for all the city could say. Warsaw
looked as though it would flinch if you reached for its hand,
like it would turn and run if you opened your arms to her.
It looked the same as the sky this morning in Pittsburgh,
as if color hadn’t been invented yet. And neither had
compassion. We trudge through the sideways rain
and we are out of rhythm. My wife is reciting
the mortality statistics for women giving birth in America.
The numbers sounding no different than a litany of
the war dead. We’ve been trying to get pregnant.
The world needs more good people, my wife says.
She says things cannot continue this way. We have
a responsibility. I think I hear the barest whisper
of that beautiful song through the downpour as the high
wind cuts through the outstretched arms of bare trees,
or it could just be the crying of the bombs
as they start to fall.







Kristofer Collins is the books editor for Pittsburgh Magazine. He is the author of several poetry collections, most recently. Salsa Night at Hilo Town Tavern.published by Hyacinth Girl Press. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and son. 





Share this:

4 comments on ““Ida” — a poem by Kristofer Collins”

  1. Kristofer’s poem works like the mind works: here, there, and everywhere and comes to end in exquisite nostalgia … Susandale

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Your email address will not be published.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.


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


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?


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


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.”


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


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


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


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