William J. Schroeder/via Wikimedia Commons
Blind-Sighted: Part One
While we were waiting in the wings___
tuning our instruments,
From clefs to choruses, ominous portents
reared their ugly heads.
We didn’t see them, though.
We were cowering in dark corners,
hiding from the apparition
screaming through the night.
Mutating as he dipped and flew ___ from cave-dweller
to bat, to vampire, to covid___
bringing death and anguish to untold millions
From the veined wings of the bat
to the wings behind the stage curtain
came the bugle’s command “Let’s go.”
The bass wonders, “How low?”
“All the way to the softness of absolute silence.”
And the snow that smiled to warm February’s chill
began to spit out winds that moaned, and the nails of ice
scratching across our windows.
‘Sparkly glass prisms’ we thought, ‘decorating our
landscape,’ until it iced over trees and roads.
We slid dangerously from side to side
And through Stop Signs.
But again, we were blind-sighted
The glare of ice was as heart-stopping
as the glare that Benny Goodman
fused on his swing band
when they swung up
higher than Benny’s baton.
Blind-Sighted: Part Two
Chechenia, Crimea and their fates,
Were but blips in Kremlin history.
But we twitched when we heard echoes
from far-away Siberia: all vaguely familiar …
the pounding, nailing, the red-hot steel being forged
for bombers, military planes
and jeeps, heavy with assault weapons.
Then it came to us
“It’s Putin, getting ready to overtake another county.”
“Yea, that’s it!”
“All too ominous for us. Look off, far off to Beijing where the torch is
being lit to be carried around the globe, but with a traveling
companion this time: covid.”
We journeyed by the sumptuous lights bursting from the
Giddy with excitement, our mouths fell open in delight.
Through the seamless clouds, the skiers shot.
Up one incline, down another___ to plunge rapidly
into the fluidity of space and sky.
Fused to their boards, they summer-salted in the air
or hung suspended with arms spread like wings.
No one could change courses as quickly or as effortlessly…
with the exception of Bird and his sax running rampant
up and down the scales: no notes in a no time frame.
Inside, we go to be amongst ice, sequins and skates.
Swirling and twirling, leaping and bending … until
the Russian girl took a tumble in the rink.
Rushing at her, groans and grumbles,
scolds, and many ‘boo-ings.’
She ran to her coach for comfort
but what she got was a harsh tongue lashing,
On the media, her tumble repeated again and again
And all in technicolor reality.
But what colors can replace silver, gold or bronze?
And may I humbly suggest jazz?
Soft and healing jazz
Try a little tenderness
Or a misty Misty
Blind-Sighted: Part Three
But already it was too late;
the closing ceremony closed
and it took us awhile to arrive.
Wildfires flaming in Texas and Florida
Tornados in Louisiana,
And a Wynton Marsalis concert in Louisville;
Wynton played Ella Fitzgerald.
We stayed through the skitting and the scatting
But left halfway through Mack the Knife
to head over to Ukraine.
But we were blind-sighted
by clouds of black smoke destruction.
We had to drive slowly around the bodies lying in the road,
We circled the mass graves,
and the missle-launched, train-station lying in shambles
of 57 lifeless bodies,
The Ukraine, hopeless, helpless, hungry, and horrified by the horrendous despair,
we were blind-sighted and too late, so very, very late.
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. She was nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize by Jerry Jazz Musician for her poem “To Paul“
Listen to the 1954 recording of Erroll Garner playing his composition “Misty” [Universal Music Group]
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