Lots of interesting new poems have been published this week…
Here is a sampling:
by Joshua Michael Stewart
You can hear the youth of his heart
in the rhythmic pouncing of his block
chords. He’s a kitten when it comes
to his ball of twine. He’s in his ninetieth
year, but that’s not to say his melodies
are arthritic or his left hand falls asleep
in mid-conversation with the right.
The felt-tipped hammers drive each note
into their surefooted place. Harmonies shift,
easy as sunlight progressing across the carpet.
Wisdom’s intertwined with overtones
floating above the whole of music,
and he’s in time with his complete being,
his strengths and weaknesses syncopated
within one opus, the life-energy of jazz.
This is what I hear as I try to tune
myself, questioning my own offbeat
rhythms. Now I know what key I’m in,
what scales I’m going to play.
Tonight, I’ll sleep like a pillow.
by Michael Keshigian
I’ve listened to the song
of a single cardinal
just outside my office window.
An opera in red tux
his throat is a spring
stretching an aria
through the cluttered house
of sound, awakening memories
of events since past.
The timbre enlivens my heart.
I can almost touch
what once was
as it floats between
song and wind. An inflection
so crisp, that I’m convinced
the cardinal sings for more
than to merely texture
the commotion. His tune
incites another gift.
He performs daily,
tireless and without hoarseness,
to make sad hearts flutter.
by Britt Peter
Mocking bird has heard
Too much Coltrane
High in our walnut tree
The fervor is there
So loud; a masterful annoyance
An edgeless song
JULIE’S CD COLLECTION
by Jon Wesick
Saggy plaid polyester pants in white shoes
foxtrot with a pair of clip-on earrings,
while the elevator descends.
I stab the red emergency button.
The alarm bell rings. With bleeding fingers
I pry the sliding door open
and exit on the thirteenth floor.
Given ten thousand years
chimpanzees randomly playing piano, bass, and saxophone
could produce something resembling a melody.
Until then it’s called avant-garde jazz.
“I think you’ll find this acceptable.” Richard Nixon snaps his fingers.
A burly Secret Service agent in conservative suit and earphone
places a stuffed black Hefty bag on the carpet.
The guitarist in platform shoes reaches inside
and withdraws a wad of hundred-dollar bills.
He smiles, flicks his long hair from his eyes,
and says, “You can count on me, Sir.”
“Come on, Billie! Let’s do the Hustle!”
Aunt Selma pries the boy’s white knuckles
from his death grip on the Naugahyde arm rest.
Flab jiggles from the legs that emerge
like yesterday’s bratwurst from her lime green miniskirt.
Like a dog on the way to a rabies shot
Billie jams his heels hard into the orange shag carpet.
Drawn like piranhas to the scent of U.S. dollars
clones, playing Andean pan flutes, circle.
The unfortunate tourist lifts his wallet out of the melee.
His flailing arm sinks into the roiling river
of llamas, fedoras, and multicolored blankets.
“What the hell am I doing here?” Sekou Sundiata asks.
He regards White America with midnight eyes
and chants of voodoo gods, bodegas,
and life back in the day.
Spiced with unconscious rhythms of Xhosa and Yoruba
his griot’s words shovel jewel cases into an empty Hefty bag,
cram it in a metal trash can, and clang the lid
with a crunch of crushed plastic.
by Joanne Olivieri
I remember these tunes
so vividly in my mind
wafting across the square.
once forgotten senses.
The memories linger
throughout my veins.
tell of the stories
hidden in my soul.
In Search Of Himself
by Arlene Corwin
He plays a Mercer “Out Of Nowhere”
Tatum tempo, Tatum phrases
That have hung around
Since youth, the days
When Art was art for him.
Now, only now he’s found
That what he plays
Is literally out of no ‘where’,
Searching for an unrecorded track,
Although still stuck
A Yard to Go
by Joe Ferguson
This is my yard.
I can plant my chair
I desire now
The exquisite light
Hidden sounds of
A salsa bass line
From the forest fringe.
Sides of houses
Studies in parallel lines.
While each blade of grass
Throws its shadow
With the force
Of a major league pitcher.
I stare down a dog
Alternately wagging, barking.
If I turn my chair
A scant degree,
Yet one more universe.
by Krikor Der Hohannesian
Her mantra – “spare a little
change?, have a nice day” – a gift of music
to the song-less bustle of commuters’
daily outpouring at the railhead.
A two-bar ditty laced with calypsonian
optimism, percussed by the tambourine jingle
of her change cup, hopeful syncopation
given lie by mirthless eyes cast down
at scarred pavement, and then
the predictable coda sans conviction –
rush hour’s desultory staccato
rhythms flattened out by the drone
of her cadenced intermezzo voiced
with metronomic precision.