Poetry reflecting the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season — Vol. 2

July 30th, 2020

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In this second collection, 23 poets write from a variety of perspectives about this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and politics of the day.

(You can read Volume 1 by clicking here)

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“Clarinetist,” by Russell duPont

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Broken Statues Of Broken Promises

In a garden, dark around the edges
amongst thistles and nettles
the corona blossoms

Conceived of the twilight vampire and
of a masked silence,
that stretches across the weary earth___

In the garden lies
A path of broken statues
composed
of the broken promises
proclaimed by our
forefathers ___ so many years ago
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by Susandale

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53
………….(a birthday under quarantine)

daddy, roderick and i
each have a bottle to challenge
the heat

daddy raises his bottle of whiskey
to an al green tune, as sunlight crowns
his head with a halo

i drink a corona, the good
kind and think of
jazz music as my bible

roderick, sips his crown royal
as 2pac gives us life in the
sunlight

and so we ride, once more
along these streets
as the old south, gives way
to the new

we ride as men, not
as symbols, or cliches or
casualties
of blackness
but as stories, our music
creating a path for the future

whether this is real or a dream
i do not care
i hug my brother and father in the
sunset
as men, in the fading
light

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by Erren Kelly

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After A Night Of Protests 

It’s a beautiful sunny morning and she’s
a beautiful black woman, smiling
and glowing, singing
as she boogies on
down the street.

Yes, sing your songs. Purr Billy’s blues
and scat like Ella. Croon Gershwin
and Porter. Belt that rap and pop and
hip hop. Sing, yes, sing. Keep
singing. We all know
it’s either sing
or cry.

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by Phyllis Wax

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……………………..That’s one of the things that happen.
………………………………..-Edmund Berrigan

Unto Dust During Plague 

Siren blaring closer now
EMTs at the door
white-clad and face-masked
no direct human connection
your partner on a gurney
lifted to the ambulance maw
embarking on a one-way journey
never to be seen by you again but
for the cipher’s paper box of cinders.

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by Ed Coletti

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Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation

The bus lurches and sputters through the well-known,
the tawdry, the dissolute, the ragged streets of a city;

the driver ignores all questions of destination, or he points
to a tattered postcard above the rear view mirror of a rural

scene full of sunshine and smiling faces–there are
no shadows, questioning looks, or clouds.

Passengers near the front sing martial lyrics set to the tune
of “Nearer My God to Thee”–they sway from side to side

waving arms extended overhead. A conductor marches
up and down the aisle, a grinning death’s head emblazoned

on his jacket. To make room for new passengers at each stop,
anyone caught not singing is shot with a taser and tossed out

upon the boiling pavement. Now and again the conductor
makes everyone turn their pockets out; those with limited funds

are pushed out windows of the speeding bus. The singers cheer.
The driver smiles and pushes the accelerator to the floor. Ahead

there has been an accident–traffic has slowed to a crawl. The bus
lurches onto the sidewalk and speeds past; pedestrians dive for cover.

The bus reaches its destination, a shining edifice of concrete,
steel, and soaring pillars. Heavily armed soldiers patrol

the barbed wire perimeter, the windows are barred, and machine guns
loom out the watch towers. Passengers relax. All will soon be well.

by Michael L. Newell

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We Want Everything

These predictable exchanges
We pass on thin winds
Are we talking
Or just fanning ourselves?
Where’s the gust?!

…………….*

You don’t know me
Cause itself
Take my hand, grip
It is malleable
I’ll come. Always at the ready
On the brink of becoming

You’re a black man in Philadelphia
I an exile shaping poems in Paris
There we say ça va? Bien, et toi?
Leave it at that
Like two dogs lifting hind legs
At the hydrant

Here it sounds: How’s it goin’ man?
It goes like this:
………..Each time our children’s hands
………..Snagged on barbed wire
………..Ripped to shredded stumps
………..Forbidden the fruit of innocent desire
………..I stop cold on the boulevard
………..Uncurl palms scarred and cannot heal *

I am a civilized man
Thus told – to hold my tongue
How absurd. I prefer to hold yours
………..Like a shell pressed to my ear
………..Resonance of inner cosmos
………..Rings a harmonic convergence
………..We want everything

We must stop lamenting the rain
Shrinking from heat, humid days
Weather is so much tide
Ocean of air from which we swim
Direct me to the nearest galaxy
Shall we summon a boat?

What’s happening? Ask me again
Yes ask me!
……….You and I make alchemy
…………The space between us
………..Charged with protons of love
………..Passion particles osmosing the boundaries
……….Of the vacuum
We are about love
When we choose to be

Bullets, blades, booby traps
Sprung by the masters
Parasites embalmed in pale faces
Bank vault visions in myopic chill light
Hermetic madness
………..C’mon Orpheus
………..Play me your opus
………..I will open my heart
………..Like a tulip in April.
We shall build the cult of imagination.

You don’t know me
I hear your howls
From the death camps
Columbus’ crematorium
Migrating birds pass the news
I wrench requiems from my sleep
Brood in the mirror of morning café
Arrested in motion on a bridge deck
Hammered stone, cold steel rivets
To the base of my skull

You don’t know me?
I’ve been writing to you for years
And crystal clear moments
I sing your song in the darkness
How you be?
Go on – tell me
Tell me more, more
So much more

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by Moe Seager
…………………………………….From We Want Everything, Onslaught press.

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Shit’s About to Go Down

Must I retrieve my black leather
jacket from the chest in my closet
My Afro pick, discarded in a
forgotten drawer?

Must I wear that T-Shirt with
Malcolm X emblazoned on my
breast, my right fist held high
reaching for the sky?

Must I shout the words of
Angela, Stokely, Huey,
H. Rap Brown, because
shit is about to go down?

Must I let them know that
this time the revolution
will be televised, live and
on social media?

I am telling them NOW, that
the fire is THIS time, this land is
not just theirs, it’s also MINE
Shit’s about to go down, sublime

………………previously published in Jerry Jazz Musician, July 4, 2020

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by Aurora M. Lewis

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Reconstructive Surgery 

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard
it seems to me most strange that men should jeer
at reparations owed those who’ve incurred
the legacy of fleeced ancestors reared
as slaves. “The latter tilled the soil from dawn
into the night, were cooks and seamstresses,
as well as raising vassals from their spawn
to serve their overlords and mistresses,”
I stressed. “Well, my dad worked relentlessly
to get to where we’ve now arrived,” she shouted
with self-righteous mien, portentously,
intending to rebut, if not to flout
the argument I made. “But he was paid
his due; a quid pro quo denied the slaves
whose labor helped to make more retrograde
a hapless journey to their outback graves,”
I countered, poised to jeopardize her smug
perspective or indeed, to pull the rug
from under where she stood. “But I’d no hand
in slavery!” she railed. And I replied,
“But neither do you wear my wedding band,
or otherwise was I years back, astride
your mother when she brought forth you and five
more kids my taxes helped to send to school,
though I’ve none of my own. But that’s what I’ve
signed into via majority rule
of our social contract that we’re bound
to. One for all and all for one. Some men
and women fight and die, while some gain ground
at their expense, so we do not upend
their civil liberties. But once that’s done,
the payment that they’re due is in arrears
and puts financial straits on everyone
until the debt that looms outstanding clears.
The cost is ours, not with charity,
but what it takes to render parity.”

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by Frank De Canio

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When The Saints Go Marching In

“Oh, when the saints go marching in
Oh, when the saints go marching in
I want to be, be in that number
Oh, when the saints go marching in”

Despite the many trials
and tribulations of black folks
here in America, as a means of survival
my people have learned to laugh and smile
in the face of adversity.
We have learned to weather our storms
with such a calming grace, and a quiet resilience;
more resilient than those broken levees
that eventually gave way to the wind, pushing
the ever-rising tide of racism to the shores
of black lives, that truly didn’t matter to anyone.
More resilient than the man-made storm
slamming its treacherous winds against
the black landscape of Louisiana’s poor;
for Hurricane Katrina was an angry storm
a woman scorned who cried crocodile tears
with flooding rains that suddenly came
sweeping down upon my people like:
ethnic cleansing. Scores of black bodies,
floating down canal street,
a watery grave, a watery parade, a funeral procession.
The Fat lady sang the blues for them amidst the thunderous sound
of lightning ablaze with ten thousand trumpets ringing from the heavens
an eerie rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Though the saints never came! The saints never came!
FEMA never came!…..FEMA never came for the lowly ninth ward.
New Orleans, black poor. Rescue efforts paused.
So many died, when they didn’t have to, but FEMA never came!
FEMA- never- came!…..Humanity never came.

………………previously published in Jerry Jazz Musician, June 27, 2020

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by Prince A. McNally

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In The Skies Below The Clouds

In the skies below the clouds
webbed wings swoop down on us
with echoes that bounce back
From factories – nursing homes
From hospitals and cruise ships
Crippling counties and countries
Closed Until Further Notice
To choke off the breath of life

Just another 24 – 7 in the day of a
man of color
Beat to the ground, handcuffed
knees on his throat
Who would have guessed the
turmoil to follow
such a routine murder?
The marches, the fires, the injuries
For days into nights

Rages into pillaging
For hours___ waiting in cars for food
Libraries and schools closing
to pack lunches for hungry children

A hollow empty summer
No crack of the bat
No musical merry-go-rounds
No planes to carry us off to
wondrous destinations

In the skies below the clouds
webbed wings swoop
down on us
to choke off the breath of life

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by Susandale

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Music

gathers all our grief and rage,
transforms it into rhythmic dots
that dance across an open page,
which hearts and mouths and fingers strive
to share upon the human stage.
And when these traveling lines can reach
the livid, sad, or stubborn head
they burrow deep and journey through
and open up what’s closed. Instead
of sorrow, hate, and murderous hands,
cheers and applause—our withering souls
connect, survive, prevail thus fed.

………………previously appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician July 10, 2020

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by Felicia Chernesky

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Chiq

Have you ever wondered what color the soul is?
Is it white, black or purple if we can wax metaphoric?
The clamor of colors is my elegy for the twenty-first century.

My hair is black
but my cousin’s is as golden as a field of wheat.
We descend from a race that has baffled genetic authority.
We insist on dwelling in the same spheres
sharing our boons and multiple tragedies.

Mario, my research roommate, once confided in me
about his ordeals every time he passed a particular street.
He had fled the tribal wars of his native country
only to trudge through racism in a non-African community.
I used to marvel at his palms
and the soles of his sandaled feet.
They were whiter than our paper sheets.
I used to tell him the sun had bronzed his face and physique
making him the envy of the elite
for why would they frequent solariums
if not to become chic?

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by Susie Gharib

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I Want A Mask On You

Amazon’s got a million
From plain white to vermilion
Paper or cloth
So please, no sloth.

I hate to be insistent
But you’re not social distant.
so I repeat:
six feet.

Look at big and smart and handsome Fauci-o.
Why you won’t listen I will never know.

I want a mask on you
Clueless guy
All through shelter in place
Hear me try
I never had a notion
That public health could stir so much emotion.

Should you cough, should you sneeze
You wouldn’t bring the world to its knees
If, you big baby, you just put on an effing mask.

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by Charles Albert

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Fashion Victim

My friend is making masks for me.
They have colorful, attractive designs,
and they will actually fit my head.
For even in a public health crisis,
the fashion industry dismisses women.
The masks are too big for my face.
The masks for “smaller faces”
cut off my breathing
and make me look like an alien.
If I tie the loops with garden twine,
I can go to the grocery store.
But when I get there, some of you
with regular, adult-size heads,
are not wearing masks.
And when I stop at a shelf
to look at a can or a box,
you push your cart to within inches of me,
and I have to haul my body, my cart,
my groceries, my mask, my twine,
and my constantly recurring disbelief,
six feet away from you. How easy it is
to embrace denial, to nurture ignorance,
to put me and my little head in danger,
while you stand in disbelief
because your favorite cereal
is no longer on the shelf.

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by Diane Elayne Dees

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Corona 3

Locked in the house
we cannot not feel the sun,
or the rain when it pelts down.

We wander from room to room,
curl up in the corner of the couch,
the tv’s glare flickering in our eyes.

Ten o’clock in the morning
and we are still in pajamas,
on our 3rd or 4th cup of coffee.

It’s eleven, and Cuomo , firm
and serious, his logic
radiating competence

and a compassion
we will not see or hear
later in the day

when your”president”
stretches and reaches behind
to pat himself on the back

for all he has done for us.

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by Russell Dupont

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focus on the positive at this difficult time

good news? you mean like comfort food
for the brain?
a sugary coating over

this endless loop

……………overandoveragainandagain

how many centuries? only
……clothing changes
……hair styles change
……technology changes
but the weapons—

the noose is still here,
…………….still in use,
the gun is here,
…………….well used,

the fists, the bats, the boots, the chains,
vicious dogs, fires, deep waters, knives,

and the knee—the joint enabling someone

…………….to kneel in prayer

 …………………………………….to dance

another weapon
……………………………….in
……………………………………….an endless loop

……………………………….focus

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by CJ Muchhala

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Standstill against Covid-19

Which to recue first:
The Human right or the human left?

No, neither
But the human heart
From every human center

To halt
To reflect
To reset

Humanity in the human middle

………………previously appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician May 3, 2020

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by Yuan Changming

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For LL 

mostly yellow but sometimes red
and brown…
this man was always there but never
to be seen.
now the face of his comes through Cecil’s voice
and gestures
now I know why we sing about yesterdays
with tears running and
the company of three is missing one that
was never there to be replaced

the constructive anger expressed through class
and intelligence

timeless and forever miss-ing/ed

the beauty of the world, evolution,
nature selected you but fate
was determined by human hands
not the ones that struck crispy cymbals
not the ones that gave us yellow, red,
and brown

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by Alex Louloudis 

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What I Witnessed

I’ve seen peaceful protests and
ugly riots

I’ve seen police take a knee,
act in solidarity

And I’ve seen anger
unleashed

I’ve seen shoving and beatings,
people slammed into a wall

All over America
I’ve witnessed riots

Rubber bullets
and pepper spray aimed at the press

Tear gas and stun grenades
used at curfew time
against peaceful protesters
cornered or encircled
so they can’t get away

In city after city riots
by out-of-control police

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by Phyllis Wax

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Chauvinist Pigs

………..The riot squad is restless
………..They need somewhere to go
……………– Bob Dylan, “Desolation Row”

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Derek the chauvinist piggy
Up to his knee in neck
All coz George wanted a ciggy
And paid for a pack with dreck

Repeat: I can’t breathe, he said
I can’t breathe: sixteen times
a mindfulness exercise gone code red
Derek up to his neck in crimes

Lawdy, why, just yesterday it seems
We were modeling new Covid kerchiefs
On blue screen catwalks, zoom-zoom streams
Buffer zone fantasies, locked in like thieves

And now twin cities tumbling
Miniapnea–too much St. Pauli’s, girl
An empire’s nasty stumble bumbling
Riot squads ready, batons a-twirl

Arrests in 140 cities
Like characters allowed in tweets
Dusting off our rage and protest ditties
Bringing isolations to the streets
Whoa, what’s that cop there doin’?
Rubber bullets, tears and stuns
Hey look! Harmon Killibrewin’!
Beating the snot outta Rod Carew’s sons

Two police cruisers accelerated — zoooooom —
And disappeared through time
Other fascists used a sonic gun — boooooom —
And protesting brains turned to slime

Then, inexplicably, GW Bush
Was asked for his take on events
And all hell broke loose
When he said all you need is love
Love is all you need

Twin cities falling
Goodyear drones overhead
Call 9-1-1, someone’s calling
Freedom’s just another word for the walking talking dead

Hep two three four, laughin’
Cuz I’m thinkin’ Bill Murray
And that egg beater scene
(Why, what’d you think I was thinking of?)

Cops firing point blank paint
At the people who aint
Joe Biden people
Like fascist machinegunningpointilists
angry at the canvas for being blank
Or being at all

Thugs, tweets Trump
And Cepi agrees
When he sees
America with Kurds disease

Trump holding a bible:
Face all Wrath of Con
More hot air than a balloon
should have to don

The veiled threat of violence
In the corona age
A headline reads
In the Democracy Dies in Darkness Daily

Cops charged with excessive force
Like Kathy Scruggs charged with excessive journalism
Both sponsored by the voice of god
Deus ex machinas outta control everywhere
Someone call the cops

Po-lice
Po
Lice
Po people
Licentious
License to kill
We don’t need no stinking badge
Predators overhead

Feminist patrols of local women
Foxy femme fatales
Like Sirens from Smith College
(I remember well)
Enforcing curfews
Godivas with batons
Pestlemortarin’ their palms
Knees on the necks of creeping Toms
No happy ending for Nicholson this time

Light them up, one cop said
And thus began, the Boston Massacre
Crispus Attucks, a freed slave
(did you see what they did there?)
Paul Revere rode all day and all night
To warn about the black and white
And then, when the craze was over
Settled back in with his favorite nightmare
Chicago ‘68: The Love we loved to hate

Remember how in school
A private one, of course
We limned the world’s end
and had to choose between
Archibald McCleish, TS Eliot, WB Yeats
Compare and contrast
Circus crash or whimper bang or falcon-masked women
Who won’t listen

Justice in a Just Is world
Curfews in cities coast to coast
Curlews in ditties ghost to ghost
All you kneed is love
Love is all you kneed

Fade to black

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by John Hawkins

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It’s Not About George Floyd

It takes one young man to throw a bicycle at a glass window
and a second thereby emboldened to aim a kick at the splintered pane

And not much more because the crowd gives anonyminity’s protection
so that unknown figures can finish the task;
T-Mobile windows now only shards on the ground

Once the door’s open we now own the space, we can get anything we want
“What the hell, it’s all insured anyway”
Android cases discarded on gray Market Street, Wilmington

The apologists talking systemic racism, 400 years,
“point one percent of bad actors,” outside agitators
all that may be true and yet

The intersection of frustration and freedom
lifetimes of the reality of racism
that sudden moment which feels like power

And indiviual responsibilty
can’t exist within the whirlwind of the mob

by Phil Linz

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A New World Coming
……………………………….(for Duke Ellington)

no wars
……no greed
no famine
……no disease

……………just rainbows
…………………………and blessings

falling out  of the sky

dolphins swimming carelessly in

…………………………………blue
……………………………………….clear
………………………………………………water

dawns glorious enough to make you sigh

no more days when children go
unfed

everyone will have a home
and a place to lay their
head

what a lovely sight, seeing dictators
on their knees

…………….and blacks and whites loving
each other

like piano keys

………………previously appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician May 31, 2020

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by Erren Kelly

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At the Grand Canyon

 

A white man and a black man
stand side by side on this precipice,
silently looking across the Grand Canyon,
watching the revolutionary ravens
surf the deep blue ocean of sky
and glide effortlessly on ancient thermals,
scarring the rare thin clear air
with the intelligence of their flight.

A white man and a black man
stand wingless on this precipice
and discuss the utter impossibility
of describing to some friend or stranger
who has never seen the Grand Canyon
this voluptuous vista enveloping them,
the poverty of words to represent
the tattoo on the soul this moment inks.

A white man and a black man
stand alone on this precipice
as friends sharing quiet conversation
and the details of their private lives,
their personal problems vaporized
by the magnificence of this landscape
carved by the snaky undulating Colorado
appearing as a distant trickle far below.

A white man and a black man
stand smiling on this precipice
forgetting for just this one moment
the rude stares of tourists on the bus,
the invisible walls that exist everywhere,
the daily ritualized micro-insults
wearing thousands of polite disguises
to conceal the ignorance and racism.

A white man and a black man
stand together on this precipice
pondering the immensity of the gulf
that stretches before and between them,
the huge ugly social trench dug by human hands,
brought back to the hard, sad fact
that all they share is words, words, words,
and the wings of birds cannot bridge this gap.

A white man and a black man
turn their backs to this precipice as friends
and walk away from the yawning abyss
faint hope firing across the synapse of friendship
walk back side by side up the trail together
walk back to the inherited daily brutalities
walk back to this world’s cancerous conventions
walk back to murderous malice and polite hypocrisy.

………………previously appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician June 5, 2020

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by T.S. Davis

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I Already Gave At The Office

Bah, scolded the ragged man, open
the door, I hear the t.v. cackling, and know
your wee ones and your spouse lie scattered
chair and floor in dumb amusement.

Don’t abuse my intellect by silent
neglect of my rap rap tapping on your
dwelling’s door; I know you’re there, and can
share warmth, food, and lodging, if

you’d but dare to fling open
your house to a thing poor, diseased,
and ill at ease in polite company;
what blight might I inflict

on ones who have so much and I
so little, whittled to bone and scrimped
flesh by my lack, my lacklustre luck,
my lost days on wandering streets

where I scavenge with others of my ilk
for what scraps can be found, moldy
crusts a la carte, milk curdled
and garnished with rotting fruits and vegetables.

Don’t leave me banging away out here
too long, a throng like me might gather
and wreck this place altogether, the anger
unleashed might reach the length

of the block or further, might
detonate other explosions all over town,
then no one would be around to enjoy
your creature comforts, your casual caresses, to employ

your language of plenty, of control, of disdain
for the very notion of pain, open I say
before time decays these walls and all within
to thin stalks of despair like those

of us who wander lost outside, who slog
through day like it was night, and wear
the night like it was a shoddy suit too familiar
to discard, too worn to be seen in.

Open or I’ll huff and I’ll puff
till the neighborhood is filled with air
unfit to breathe. Open or I’ll smear
your doors and windows with fecal matter

left by your pets who feed better
than I do. Open or I’ll rip your garden
out and plant decaying asphalt under your windows.
Open or I’ll tell your neighbors we’re related. Open…

by Michael L. Newell

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April 2020

 

From my street-level flat, I look out the open window and watch the silence.
It is early spring and the oak trees that line the avenue
Have started sprouting leaves like Argus having started to open all his eyes.
Funny how time marches on despite the world being so still.

As a soft breeze touches my face, I wonder about where I am, where we are, at this time.
The rush of life has subsided yet still we feel unsettled
More time, less bustle; isn’t this what so many have been seeking?
Another time, perhaps; different circumstances, for sure.

A passerby on the footpath far beyond arms’ reach sneezes and I am startled,
make quickly to the sink, where I wash my hands and start to think, look into the mirror
wonder, How could something that was once so human now set off such an alarm.

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by Dan Franch

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Afterwards
…………………….For the Spring of 2020

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…………………..“The World Breaks Everyone, And Afterwards,
……………………Many Are Stronger At The Broken Places.”

…………………………………………………………….– Ernest Hemingway.

 

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Afterwards
………………….For The Spring, 2020

many, many, years ago
…………I was in need
…………………..of some extra money.

I had decided
…………to sell my upright 1940’s
………………….. kay bass violin.

however
…………this april
…………………..I still have it:

and I always know …
…………how much
…………………..it still means to me.

…………*****

it is beyond compare
…………with the comfort
…………………..it gives.

just feeling the design
…………of the birds eye
…………………..maple neck …

and then again …
…………just lightly touching
…………………..the strings.

…………*****

there’s the deep strength of sound:
…………reassuring and resounding
…………………..from the perfectly placed bass notes.

this bass
…………has been
…………………..a lifelong friend:

I need this old bass
…………in these trying times
…………………..now more …than ever.

…………*****

………………previously appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician May 23, 2020

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by Alan Yount

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Into The Circle

Still living without a sense
of what’s buried deep
within the night.

Perhaps, behind every droplet
is a microcosm of purest energy
and behind that force, a window
of hope, and behind each window
a smile, and behind the ringing
of laughter, a tender kiss—
for is not beyond each kiss
a breath which is the throbbing
heart of life?—and there, right
there beneath the rib cage,
a wish, and deeper still,
that lingering desire
for a moment realized,
and beyond, further beyond,
the great flame
which is eternity rekindled
endlessly, until we begin
to believe we may be.

by David Dephy

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Susandale’s poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Mad Swirl, Penman Review, The Voices Project, and Jerry Jazz Musician. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan. The Spaces Among Spaces from languageandculture.org has been on the Internet. Bending the Spaces of Time from Barometric Pressure is on the Internet now.

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Erren Kelly is a two-time Pushcart nominated poet from Boston whose work has appeared in 300 publications (print and online), including Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine, Ceremony, Cacti Fur, Bitterzoet, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, .and .Poetry Salzburg.

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Phyllis Wax writes in Milwaukee on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Her poetry has appeared previously in Jerry Jazz Musician and in many other journals and anthologies, online and in print. 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 as part of poet/fiber artist collaborations. She can be reached via email at poetwax38@gmail.com.

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Ed Coletti is a poet widely published internationally and he curates the popular blog “No Money In Poetry.” His most recent book Appollo Blue’s Harp and the Gods of Song is available at amazon.com or from the author at edjcolettiATgmail.com. Additionally, Ed is a painter. middling chess player, and harmonica player. He lives with his wife Joyce in Santa Rosa, California.

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Michael L. Newell lives on the Florida coast.

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photo by Mya Smbg

Moe Seager is a poet and jazz & blues vocalist who sings his poems on stages in Paris, New York and elsewhere and has recorded two jazz-poetry c.d.s. Seager founded and hosts “Angora Poets World Caffé,” in Paris, and now hosts the event on Zoom. He also hosts “100 Thousand Poets for Change,” Paris and is one of the coordinators for le Fédération des Poètes, Paris. He has six collections of poetry and currently publishes with Onslaught press, Oxford, U.K. Other poetry collections include Dream Bearers (1990); One World, (2004); We Want Everything in French translation (1994); Perhaps (2006); Fishermen and Pool Sharks Busking (1992). Additionally Seager won a Golden Quill Award (USA) for investigative journalism, 1989 and received an International Human Rights award from the Zepp foundation, 1990. Two collections, We Want Everything and I Wanna Make Jazz To You, Onslaught press, are available from Amazon.com

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Aurora M. Lewis.is a retiree having worked in finance for 40 years. In her fifties, she received a Certificate in Creative Writing-General Studies, with Honors from UCLA. Aurora’s recent poems, short stories, and nonfiction have been accepted by The Literary Hatchet, Jerry Jazz Musician, The Blue Nib, Trembling in Fear, Jitter Press, Scary Snippets, Copperfield Review to name only a few.

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Born and bred in New Jersey, Frank De Canio works in New York. He enjoys music from Bach to Amy Winehouse, World Music, Latin, Opera. Shakespeare is his consolation, writing his hobby. He likes Dylan Thomas, Keats, Wallace Stevens, Frost , Ginsberg, and Sylvia Plath as poets.

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Prince A. McNally is a Brooklyn-born poet, writer, and philosopher whose poetry and prose focuses primarily on the human condition, love and social injustice. His poems have appeared in Dissident Voice, TUCK Magazine, Leaves of Ink, and The Blue Mountain Review as well as the following anthologies: The World Poets Open Mic: 2016 Anthology, National Beat Poetry Festivals 10 Year Anthology: BEAT-ITUDE, and the National Beat Poetry Foundation: WE ARE BEAT. Prince’s work has also been translated in the Italian Anthology: AMERICANS AND OTHERS by way of Camion Press, Turin Italy 2019. He is currently working on his first collection of poetry. Enjoy more samples of Prince’s work by following him on FB, Twitter @princeamcnally and Instagram @prince_thepoet.

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Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a longtime editor, slowly publishing poet, and author of six picture books, including.From Apple Trees to Cider, Please!.and.The Boy Who Said Nonsense.(Albert Whitman). In 2018 she left the masthead of an academic quarterly to work with people who want to share their stories, ideas, and poems in print. Her poem, “Mother Tongue,” received an honorable mention in the 2020 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. Felicia lives with her family in Flemington, New Jersey. Find her online, with links to recent publications, at. www.feliciachernesky.com

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Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. in English on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Mad Swirl, Down in the Dirt, The Ink Pantry, Impspired Magazine, A New Ulster, Westward Quarterly, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, The Opiate, Penwood review, Crossways, Amethyst Review, Synchronized Chaos, Pinyon Review, Leaves of Ink, Peacock Journal, The Blotter, and many others.

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Charles Joseph Albert writes poetry and fiction in San Jose, California, where he also performs with the South Bay Bones. His work has appeared recently in Spectrum, In Parentheses, and California Quarterly, and a new collection, Confession to the Cockroaches & Other Poems is available on Amazon.com.

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Diane Elayne Dees’s poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, has two poetry chapbooks forthcoming. Her author site is Diane Elayne Dees: Poet and Writer-at-Large, and she also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.

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Russell Dupont is an artist and an author whose artwork is included in a number of public and private collections. He has published two novels, King & Train and Waiting for the Turk; two books of poetry; and two non-fiction chapbooks. His essay, “The Corner,” is included in the anthology Streets of Echoes. His work has been published in various newspapers and literary magazines. He was the founder & publisher of the literary magazine,.the albatross.

Visit his website by clicking here

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CJ Muchhala has absolutely no musical ability but a great deal of appreciation for and love of jazz and blues. She does, however, try to make music with words which have found their way into a number of journals, anthologies, and art/poetry exhibits.

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photo by Liu Yun

Yuan Changming grew up in a remote village, started to learn the English alphabet in Shanghai at age nineteen and published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian Ph.D in English, Yuan currently edits.Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks (most recently East Idioms. (cyberwit.net) & publications in.Best of the Best Canadian Poetry.&.Best New Poems Online,.among 1689 other literary outlets across 45 countries.

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Alex Louloudis is a drummer in the field of free jazz and improvised music; a composer of contemporary and experimental music; and a percussionist in Afro-Cuban style music. He is a graduate from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, has released two records and his work has been presented in various places all over the world, such as The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC, Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland, DeRuimte in Amsterdam.

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American freelance writer currently residing in Australia. His poetry, commentary and reviews have appeared in publications in Oceania, Europe, and the US.  He is a regular contributor to Counterpunch magazine. He is a former winner of the Academy of American Poets prize. He’s working on a novel.

 

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Phil Linz was born in Brooklyn, NY and has lived in several cities across the United States. He began writing poetry in 1971 and is founder and publisher of Fierce Grace Press, which specializes in chapbooks, believing in the concept of “Publishing Under the Radar.”.His new book, The Chapbooks: Collected Poems, is available on Amazon.

Mr. Linz currently lives in Wilmington, DE; he may be reached at linzp18@verizon.net.

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T..S. Davis is the author of Sun + Moon Rendezvous, a book of poems, and the former producer of the Seattle Poetry Slam. He’s published poems, essays, and nonfiction in a variety of magazines including Rattle, The Lyric, Bellingham Review, 14 X 14, Blue Collar Review, Amethyst Review, Henhouse, and Your Genealogy Today, among others. Mr. Davis is a retired Registered Nurse who lives in rural Arizona and writes creative nonfiction and Shakespearean.sonnets.

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Dan Franch, who grew up in the Chicagoland area, currently lives in Estonia. Living a life full of random experiences and adventures and people, he currently owns his own English & coaching company.

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Alan Yount, 72, has published poetry for over 50 years. His poems have appeared in WestWard Quarterly (featured poet for summer, 2018). Big Scream, Spring: the Journal of the E.E. Cummings Society, and Waterways.

He has been in three anthologies: Passionate Hearts, Sunflowers.and Locomotives: Songs for Allen Ginsburg. Alan was one of 31 poets, along with Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Also Chrysalis Reader.

Alan plays trumpet and has led his own dance band.

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photo by Donna Termini

David Dephy is a Georgian/American award-winning poet. The winner of the 2019 Spillwords Poetry Award, the finalist of the Adelaide Literary Awards 2019 for the category of Best Poem. He was named as A Literature Luminary by Bowery Poetry and The Incomparable Poet by Statorec. His works have been published and anthologized in USA, UK and all over the world by many literary magazines, journals and publishing houses. He lives in New York.

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Click here to read Vol. 1 of “Poetry reflecting the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season”

Click here to read “A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring, 2020 edition

Click here for information about how to submit work for consideration

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2 comments on “Poetry reflecting the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season — Vol. 2”

  1. Erren Kelly: “A New World Coming” –Lovely poem, and I loved the comparison at the end: “like piano keys”.

    Michael Newell: “Such a Parcel of Rogues” –What a strong poem! And a speeding bus is the perfect metaphor for what is going on.

    Aurora Lewis: “Shit’s About to Go Down” — Yes, get out your black leather jacket, we’re back in those days, but this time it will be different. And you make that very clear! Good poem!

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In this Issue

photo courtesy John Bolger Collection
Philip Clark, author of Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time, discusses the enigmatic and extraordinary pianist, composer, and band leader, whose most notable achievements came during a time of major societal and cultural change, and often in the face of critics who at times found his music too technical and bombastic.

Greetings from Portland!

Commentary and photographs concerning the protests taking place in the city in which I live.

Poetry

Mood Indigo by Matthew Hinds
An invitation was extended recently for poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season. 14 poets contribute to the first volume of collected poetry.

Poetry

photo by Russell duPont
The second volume of poetry reflecting this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season features the work of 23 poets

Short Fiction

photo FDR Presidential Library & Museum
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #54 — “A Failed Artist’s Paradise” by Nathaniel Neil Whelan

Features

Red Meditation by James Brewer
Creative artists and citizens of note respond to the question, "During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

Interview

Ornette Coleman 1966/photo courtesy Mosaic Images
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Ornette Coleman: The Territory And The Adventure author Maria Golia discusses her compelling and rewarding book about the artist whose philosophy and the astounding, adventurous music he created served to continually challenge the skeptical status quo, and made him a guiding light of the artistic avant-garde throughout a career spanning seven decades.

Spring Poetry Collection

A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Spring, 2020 Edition There are many good and often powerful poems within this collection, one that has the potential for changing the shape of a reader’s universe during an impossibly trying time, particularly if the reader has a love of music. 33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring. (Featuring the art of Martel Chapman)

Publisher’s Notes

On taking a road trip during the time of COVID...

Photography

photo by Veryl Oakland
In this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer and Johnny Griffin are featured

Interview

A now timely 2002 interview with Tim Madigan, author of The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. My hope when I produced this interview was that it would shed some light on this little-known brutal massacre, and help understand the pain and anger so entrenched in the American story. Eighteen years later, that remains my hope. .

Poetry

photo by John Vachon/Library of Congress
“Climate Change” — Ten poems in sequence by John Stupp

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time – the author Philip Clark writes about the origins of the book, and his interest in shining a light on how Brubeck, “thoughtful and sensitive as he was, had been changed as a musician and as a man by the troubled times through which he lived and during which he produced such optimistic, life-enhancing art.”

Interview

NBC Radio-photo by Ray Lee Jackson / Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, acclaimed biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman) talks about his book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius, and Berlin's unparalleled musical career and business success, his intense sense of family and patriotism during a complex and evolving time, and the artist's permanent cultural significance.

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Maria Golia’s Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure – excerpted here in its entirety – the author takes the reader through the four phases of the brilliant musician’s career her book focuses on.

Art

Art by Charles Ingham
"Charles Ingham's Jazz Narratives" connect time, place, and subject in a way that ultimately allows the viewer a unique way of experiencing jazz history. This edition's narratives are "Nat King Cole: The Shadow of the Word," "Slain in Cold Blood" and "Local 767: The Black Musicians’ Union"

Interview

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection
Richard Crawford’s Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music is a rich, detailed and rewarding musical biography that describes Gershwin's work throughout every stage of his career. In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Crawford discusses his book and the man he has described as a “fresh voice of the Jazz Age” who “challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide.”

Jazz History Quiz #139

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
This bassist played with (among others) Charlie Parker, Erroll Garner, Art Tatum, Nat “King” Cole (pictured), Dexter Gordon, James Taylor and Rickie Lee Jones, and was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists. He also turned down offers to join both Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. Who is he?

Interview

photo unattributed/ Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview with The Letters of Cole Porter co-author Dominic McHugh, he explains that “several of the big biographical tropes that we associate with Porter are either modified or contested by the letters,” and that “when you put together these letters, and add our quite extensive commentary between the letters, it creates a different picture of him.” Mr. McHugh discusses his book, and what the letters reveal about the life – in-and-out of music – of Cole Porter.

Interview

photo by Fred Price
Bob Hecht and Grover Sales host a previously unpublished 1985 interview with the late, great jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, who talks about Miles, Kenton, Ornette, Tristano, and the art of improvisation...

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges discusses the great Ellington saxophonist

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Louis Armstrong on the Moon," by Dig Wayne

Pressed for All Time

A&M Records/photo by Carol Friedman
In this edition, producer John Snyder recalls Sun Ra, and his 1990 Purple Night recording session

Interview

photo by Bouna Ndaiye
Interview with Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

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.”

Poetry

The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy.

“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

In the Previous Issue

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music. These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.

In an Earlier Issue

photo 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

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