FULL OF FAT From discarded crumbs, like falling stars onto stage horns and strings form dreams from blues and tears, where fear has no place and lies provides promises past midnight while jazz makes people hungry and rhythm tops off the soul like cities next to rivers smothering the seeds of … Continue reading “Two new Roger Singer poems”...
September 26th, 2018
Time is all time
for the player in cosmic space.
Undo the bolts & let fly
or jump back in the box
These are your reality implications
on any day of earth-clinging.
But as to the progressive continuance
of organic life on this orb,
September 19th, 2018
sits on the end
of my bed
holding his alto sax.
and for pete’s sake! mr. traps:
buddy rich was also there,
getting his drum kit ready
by the end of the bed.
then ray brown’s there
and making a
September 13th, 2018
In early morning silence,
breathing is audible.
Steam rises from tea.
A train’s whistle moans
in the distance, and I
whisper to the night
secrets I share with...
September 6th, 2018
there’s new Coltrane out
lost recordings tootin’ the devil’s horn
and while I’ve been leery
of these “new” releases, how
wrong can John Go?
even John on scat is pure...
August 29th, 2018
Concert postings and colored stickers on the crossbeams,
black-clad cyclists crossing East River—
I remember when nobody pedaled
past your grim entrance—around 1985,
when Garden Cafeteria had to close
to keep the junkies out.
They even shut you down in ’88,
said you were
August 21st, 2018
wind howls through trees round
corners shaking bushes windows eaves
lightning fractures night and all
you locked up in memory too fragile
to be handled comes tumbling out
July 26th, 2018
Her name practically scats itself,
Say it out loud, and you’re on your way,
It’s a grand stand big band criss-cross delivery,
An overnight town to town swing set deluxe,
July 9th, 2018
Midnight and we sail on a boundless sea
nothing in sight but a vast pool of black
dimly lit by starlight sprawled without end
June 28th, 2018
sitting on the top of my dad’s tombstone
… in sedalia, missouri,
I was thinking
of how much
our horns together.
June 17th, 2018
The carpenter (whose hands have grown
too large for the twenty house town
he was born in) sticks out his thumb
and catches a jet to Los Angeles where
he drowns off the Santa Monica beach trying
to ride a wave to beautiful downtown Burbank.
His sister stays home and marries
the county’s star high school running back
who turns into the
June 2nd, 2018
“Who,” you ask.
“Chris Connor,” I repeat.
“Oh, sure, right,” you say
(with little enthusiasm.)
“You have to listen, really listen,” I say.
“O.K.” (an acquiescence).
I carefully place the vinyl record
on the Rek-O-Kut turntable.
May 15th, 2018
The wind blew all afternoon,
blue my mood, moody the blues
on the box, bleak and blue when
Robert Johnson took over the airwaves;
the wind blew louder and then
May 3rd, 2018
April 15th, 2018
And a daughter is not enough or a son
or be a couple with someone who would stick thru all the shit
or the idea of a family
and god or the belief to a higher being is not enough.
The cheap girls and empty sex are always there but never
April 9th, 2018
Snow & Ridge our rock n roll Mecca.
The Tastee Shoppe jukebox our holy of holies
best for miles around was our Kaaba
where Elmore James’s Dust My Broom
sent shock waves through my hormone addled brain
& Night Train by Rusty Bryant & his Carolyn Club orchestra
was a bump & grind fantasy of rockin’ & rollin’ ecstasy.
April 2nd, 2018
Theirs’ was a kind of mediation between then and now
No, it was a meditation on their only freedom: the deliverance of their music
No, no: a melding. One musician calling out: another answering.
Or maybe, a metaphor for the chorus of life
The way Lady-Day lamented the brief glory of
February 27th, 2018
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I recently invited many of our contributing poets to submit work that combines the themes of jazz music and love, with the result being a collection of voices expressing their own contributions to the language of love…
Dozens of writers submitted over 100 poems, and the best of the submissions — 29 poems by 18 poets — are found on the following 12 pages. Advance through the selections by utilizing the page monitor at the bottom of each page.
Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work.
February 14th, 2018
the music’s so profound
so round & loud
& full of love
her word not mine
how stupid to argue over little
stupid to wrap ourselves around
February 6th, 2018
A wealth of excellent poetry has been submitted recently. Poems by Steven Dalachinsky, Michael L. Newell, John Stupp, Ron Kolm, and Freddington are examples…...
January 29th, 2018
Godmother of the gypsy tramp
half-breed goddess, unparalleled queen
of less is more, effortless weaver
of that old black magic—
your strength lay in the space between
the screaming sax and the scatting singer.
If midnight blue velvet were sound,
January 24th, 2018
(in response to an invitation
musical and raucous from the fingers
of Wild Bill Davis tickling the keys
of his organ seeking a musical response
by someone and something of equal stature)
Illinois I say accepted the challenge and blew
some blue some very blue blue blue notes
that set listeners
January 19th, 2018
Poetry is a courageous art form. No poet can possibly succeed without the willingness to create a completely transparent window into his or her soul. A poet rarely achieves by faking it.
A successful poet’s thoughts are naked to the world, and this full-on exposure — because it is so often blunt and painful for the poet — leaves the reader with a reasonable understanding of lives led and footsteps taken (or not). These revelations build a rewarding and intimate connection.
I have never met or spoken to Mike Faran, whose poetry I occasionally publish on Jerry Jazz Musician. I only outwardly know him by the short biography he sent me — retired lobster trap builder from Ventura who has had some work published in journals around the country. That’s it, really. I don’t even have a photo of him.
He has periodically sent me emails with a poem or two attached to them, seeking my interest in publishing them. (“Here is another poem that I hope will meet with your approval.”) Although I haven’t published them all, they almost always...
January 17th, 2018
Miles boils his bitches brew
in a night of worlds much blacker than black
His demons and angels let out slack
January 14th, 2018
The slow tumble of snow past
my partially open window
recalls the year in Amman
I sat for hours watching
a bleak whiteness deepen
all through the abandoned farm fields
surrounding my apartment
while the cool sound of Miles
gave shape and form to my grief
thousands of miles from
December 19th, 2017
It’s like talking of a lemon light, a blue mist,
a pale moonlight. In this case a pink rain.
It was something to do with Christmas
and I was leaving the supermarket,
buzzed, bugged, by muzak’s soothe and slink.
I walked out, into December,...
December 14th, 2017
like notes from
Jan Garbarek’s saxophone
as we stood in Raekoja Plats
drinking mulled wine and marveling
at the size of the Christmas tree.
It was crowded and festive; somewhat loud
sure, there was a...
December 12th, 2017
December 6th, 2017
Gifts and Messages. Which
the more important?
me listening feels
more like I’m playing that
swooping of sax waiting counterbal-
answer slowly fading
November 24th, 2017
Tonight I’m spinning
the ugly, unhip
jazzmen of Beehive records,
sweating in their transition shades,
mustaches sincere and wide,
collared tapestry shirts,
hair erupting from ears and noses
and they’re killing—
bellicose ogre grunts
November 22nd, 2017
At risen angles my furniture sits
each chair fills with blood
with a pulse that could strike, may cease.
Blue couch slants toward vibration
my black arms embracing, hold on
for the dark clots of bass hammering
initials into the
November 19th, 2017
From red kite country, driving South,
Dai Grandpa, fresh from yesterday,
such yesterday. Only when the
June sun sank, had Dai – dudein’
up my shirt front, puttin’ on
the shirt studs – reached evening’s land
– and such a yester-e’en. (Dai caught
the breeze, his ship came home.)
He breakfasts now in wild kite
November 13th, 2017
we all were
three fifteen year olds
along with one of our fathers.
the only white guys
in the club.
it was at dino’s club
in st.louis, in the fall of 1962
at the corner of
November 10th, 2017
September 28th, 2017
This truly foreign language
absorbs me into its differences,
rosetta stone hidden
in a cave of similarities
certain words share
with those of spanish
September 16th, 2017
all day a light breeze baptizes the landscape
gentle and captivating as a Paul Desmond solo
bushes rap windows and walls with rhythms
unusual and unexpected that Joe Morello would
approve would groove to and trees sway with...
September 1st, 2017
In the hazy glow of streetlights through the window
the jazz man sits
drinking in the music
sipping slowly with his mind
He thinks of all the past loves
the broken promises
August 24th, 2017
piano dances listeners down the street
feet must move to keep up
crowds gather round
street life jumping this way and that...
July 1st, 2017
when you fell out of a window
… you made me give up on you.
(maybe I shouldn’t have).
when the movie about you
recently came out: all of us
believed ethan hawke
was you, in “born to
June 22nd, 2017
The purpose of motion begins,
A clear mind, aware and in focus,
Ahead, the optical pathway lies empty and silent,
Slow at the start, breathing steady,
Stepping through the changes,
Favouring a motif,
As the intensity builds,
June 18th, 2017
full of bees again,
flapping in a stuttering breeze,
high up on...
June 12th, 2017
You bring out the jazz in me
The art blakey, max roach the roy haynes in me
Seeing you shake your hips like
Congas…the way you move your hips to a mamba
My heart pounding like drums inside my head
But this fever won’t put me in bed
Instead I get out on the dance floor
June 11th, 2017
May 18th, 2017
It’s the anybody;
the horned rimmed glasses,
book reader, bus rider, bow tie,
felt hat or tattoo that holds the
jazz. Distilled in flavor, an aroma
gentle and fierce. Its nail scratching,
May 13th, 2017
The wordsmith paints a picture,
A kind of bebop exchange,
Rambling around the neighbourhood,
Curbside to parkside,
Phrasing with style,
May 8th, 2017
Somewhere between the wide open spaces
And those tiny, secret places in the heart,
The sound of nursery rhymes and temple chimes
Mingle with incense and nonsense
Until even the air has to smile.
That’s where you’ll find me, in my hiding place,
Making up rhymes and trying to keep time
To the pace of the
May 4th, 2017
Watch her closely; loosen your clothes.
Her quiet storm makes love to listeners
in the heat of each performance,
cuts through crap, produces mystic music…
She’ll seduce you with contralto soul
until you lose your mind,...
April 19th, 2017
IT WAS ALL ABOUT SAX
when man said the wind man
blowing when does the wind do
its voodoo upon leaf and bud
bloody the morning the storm
warning it is on its way its windy
winding wickedly roaring crack
thunder and snap way paving
the air for
April 12th, 2017
Unlike New York City
L.A. is a woman who will love you back
But she gives her love freely and often
On a not so beautiful morning,
I went to the movies and thought
about you as the credits rolled.
Tried to wash you out of my hair,
but love lingers like a
April 2nd, 2017
Someone in the back of my
VW bus said it would be good to
turn our rock & roll band
into a jazz trio.
I turned off the radio. Complete
silence except for
the whistle of wheat as we swept
Then Pete said that he could...
March 31st, 2017
swing swagger and sway
she bop she bop drift those feet
first one way then another
swirl round and round and back again
light up the floor fly up above
March 13th, 2017
Yes, it is hot,
night sweats beneath
Spanish moss and the terror in trees
now knowing no cover of darkness
to greet a Sunday morning
under the stairs
16th Street Baptist Church.
and the siren wails
February 19th, 2017
She didn’t want to drink
so we walked hand-in-hand
half-way home before
it dawned on us that we had
parked behind the
February 11th, 2017
a leaf flutters rises and glides
to its rest a blues note
in autumn as a slow rain falls
at the end of a windy day
and a scattering of distant
January 11th, 2017
At the abandoned jazz club,
where I once debuted,
only spiders and rodents
reside behind the acoustical panels
that once resonated my dreams.
I see my distorted image
reflected upon the scarred ride cymbal
of a headless drum set
and feel like an intruder,
disrupting a Buddy Rich riff
December 16th, 2016