“Bass Man” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

September 20th, 2019

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photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Ray Brown (left) and Milt Jackson, c. 1046 – 1948

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Bass Man

Where blood pulses, where
nerves thrum, fingertips
hum with scrape of strings,

shape the fumbling,
the grasp of life, where
feet slide, slip, stammer,

spin, and leap — a grammar
lived/never understood,
where hips mumble

whenever she or she
or even she floats by,
where knees rumble

when the weight
of days obscures
direction or time,

please Mister
Bass Man, light
it up,

bring us
all safely
home, sir, home.

…………………….(for Mister Ray Brown)

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Michael L. Newell is a retired English/Theatre teacher.  Jazz is one of several preoccupations in his retirement, along with poetry, basketball, Appalachian music, Celtic music, and the beauty and power of large bodies of water.

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A complete performance of the Milt Jackson/Ray Brown Quartet, with Cedar Walton and Mickey Roker

 

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4 comments on ““Bass Man” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”

  1. I like this, Michael, particularly some of those unpredictable rhymes. And surely “a grammar / lived/never understood ..” works as a definition of jazz itself?

  2. Michael. Great tribute to Ray Brown, one of my favorite bass players. And with the second line,
    “nerves thrum,” this sets off, and sounds like a bass. Best Wishes, Alan

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