Ella Fitzgerald, in poems by Claire Andreani and Michael L. Newell

September 13th, 2023

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IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ella Fitzgerald; Amsterdam, 1961

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Ella

***

Ella Fitzgerald is whispering
to me: “sit here and enjoy your dinner with my
sweet honey voice,” eternal bloom of time,
filling the corner of the street where I eat
with a Golden Age long gone but that remains
like an idea, lingering, like the steam of a
hot bath leaving
traces of fingers on the mirror, the sweat trickling down
your cheeks, forming pearls on the forehead, or like the
fumes of a delicious dinner taken by a middle-aged couple,
completely unaware of anything outside their bubble of pleasure,
making this place an enchanted shelter for those who like the sweet
night of summer to be special yet reminiscent of other perfect
nights they had together.
The same but different. Isn’t that the
whole point of any kind of yearning?
To repeat what we love with the illusion of change,
repeat
without being aware that it is the same thing.

***

The fat man wearing a perfectly white shirt,
rippled enough that it doesn’t seem ridiculous, sits
with his fat dog and eats with appetite next to his
comfortable wife, who does the same
absent-mindedly.
I wonder if one day, I will be that woman,
loving and loved in a very peaceful,
almost domestic way, where the other
is both a friend and a lover.
The caffe we are at has never been so
enchanting. I have a peculiar impression of
displacement in time since Ella has always felt like Christmas to me
and now it is the peak of Summer, the very first days of heat coming back
after weeks of unusual cold and rain. This Indian Summer in reverse is so
mild and astonishing.
I had ordered a little something to eat to join the
happy crowd in its pleasure, until these two women appeared and almost
broke the ideal cloud of my privacy, yelling and insulting each other
as a joke and as some very old friends do, I guess.

***

I’m thinking of this poem by
E.E Cummings. I don’t remember the title
but it was in one of his most famous,
if not the most famous of his collections:
“No thanks.” The poem
seemed to celebrate guys in their teenage
years who spit and swear, unless the intention
of the poem was ironic. Anyway, this
poem reminds me of the obnoxious and gaudy behavior
of these two women.

***

But wait…Ella is calling again. Ella—this perfect
bond between times preserved because music is
so timeless. What a shame these two women cackle
so much and have clearly no idea.

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by Claire Andreani

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Consecration

an old couple sat
on battered wooden
porch as a fading

gloomy afternoon
enfolded the pair
while rain strode across

their empty backyard
bestowing blessings
then thrummed upon roof

wild drum sounds unleashed
forgotten rhythms
and boughs rocked and rolled

from windows jazz sang
Ella’s voice soothed in
concert with Joe Pass

land trees home music
wind rain wrapped couple
in a state of grace

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by Michael L. Newell

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After having completed her first years of Masters in American Literature at la Sorbonne and her second year of Masters at New York University, Claire Andreani started writing poetry, focusing her work on Emily Dickinson, E. E Cummings and Wallace Stevens. She is currently working on a collection of poetry called the city, exploring the absurdities and transformations imposed by Modern Society: how city life reflects in human nature and changes it.

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Michael L. Newell lives in Florida. He has had seven books of poetry published in the last three years.

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Listen to the 1974 recording of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass performing “Take Love Easy” [Universal Music Group]

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