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Jazz Poetry

December 11, 2013
December 2, 2012


Read "Mind"


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November 25, 2012

The Business of 'Trane

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Carlos Santana turned me on to himin an article in Guitar Player magazineI read at the Hingham library,at 14: spiritual centerof his Baja brain,and mine now,for 35 years,in Boston, in the rainafter a storm...the storm--it lasted years,years when I couldn't listen to the fellow,so powerful his song,so powerful the memories of lossand pain, in those early yearsI first discovered himin the basement of the Hingham library:they had a ...

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October 28, 2012

Birds with Long Red Tails

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[Written during guitarist Stian Westerhus' solo show, June 4, 2012 at Green Hours Jazz Fest, Bucharest.]I see things, scary things,wars and ghosts,planes and meadows.I hear my pulse and the bloodrushing through my veins,I see an old clock on a marble mantelpieceand I see the time falling apartin seconds I have already forgotten.The city traffic stops at the crossroadsto listen to the church bells,and the birds in the parkchirp heard by no one.The gears of ...

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November 30, 2011

November (for Yoko Miwa)

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On the ebony off-keys, your hands,your head in a veil of black mist, tonicto your turquoise evening gown. Poised as a turtle dove on an eave,you press an index finger on the ivory,liberating a passel of scales zooming down like falcons in a swarm,your colony and command,to a Japanese baseball diamond playing field for a perfect game,blossoming cherries shakingtheir softest petals raining onto the grass still green in drearNovember sunlight, still shiningtinting ...

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November 23, 2011

Poetry in Motian

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Shimmering behind Bill's subtle reharmonies of the Gershwin tune LaFaro's pungent doublestops and even that asshole girl's phony laugh at the climax is your intelligence I've never heard nor ever will hear the like it's only Sunday night at the Village Vanguard but I feel it's the garden of Eden Years later it actually was or you made us think it was again when you wrote that primeval drone four notes the tenors moan in unison you obstinately not keeping the beat and three electric guitars jangling like cicadas ...

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July 17, 2011

Black Sage (for Henry Grimes)

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I have seen the stage lights playthe sly sagacity of Henry's smile:the lightning on his lips, decadesdark with spattered starlight coming back to his eyes.To win words from that smilethat opens like a jackknifedrawing blood from parchment spurting the sanguine melodythe black sage spun like spiderin fury wrapping Ayler's axe--it is a dream, unless the song of '66 wire its sound and touchthe new decade... Blade slicesagain in air, ...

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November 20, 2010
June 26, 2010

Rites of Spring


Spring was the sweat running down the back of her legs. It is the pack of young dogs running down the street in their best clothes, new haircuts and fresh packs of smokes always kept in the left pocket of their sports coats. Ready to offer one up to a beautiful or willing lady, unwrapping the cellophane in front of her, the pack as yet unopened granting the illusion of being overly flush. There is plenty more where that came from 'Darlin. The Jardin des Plantes, a wealth of flowerbeds full of poppies with warped medallion shaped heads ...

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April 24, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 7, 2010



I play the folk song twice once to ring out the singed changes, again in order that

nothing comes between you and me, however the notes pound for release from a cage...

A piece by Cage, you know the one, the 4' 33" of silence no one explains to satisfaction.

The notes--are there any, and, do they come to ground? I have a theory: the absence of theory

characterizes the piece, a piece of peace, no schooling in scales required. ...

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February 20, 2010

Corona King


for Louis Armstrong

I saw the Satchmo's shack of brick needle stopped on record warped humble as a corona with a cognac

fixtures plated gold reflecting me, directing me to the “s'all" in early fall stilling solos beat out on the balcony,

to the pitch of jet the great one spit down the scarlet throat of the strike zone, in the kitchen, oak, lacquered

to sheen of formica, blue as faith, as the blues--as a word of faith ...

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February 6, 2010

Three Jazz Poems



What I hear is gone, playpens clattering

with rattles like drums, hum of heater on the floor--

I remember this as I tap the tones out of the

bass clarinet bell. I yell, Hell! I can tell

the past that steers the turnstile giving me gate

at the Village Gate or Vanguard, swapping

songs with 'Trane, washing the garnet buried in my vein.


Elvin, avian basher ...

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