Poetry by CEE

February 26th, 2013




Poetry by CEE



Hudson and Landry 45, 1973 (drunks is funny)

Bowling alley lounge
Liquor license
We’re served our burgers
Served our cokes
We laugh and horse
Enough to be warned
We’re not one-tenth as loud as the adults
We also did not vanquish Hitler,
Precious quarters, Vegas addict,
Into the Wurlitzer juke,
The drunk on the phone with the airline guy
Mushing his speech, mugging his lines
Frank Fontaine without the laugh
Foster Brooks without the burps,
I play it once per 3 Plays for 25c
Tried 3 in a row, and pre-Bill Gates ripped me off,
The 45 record is absorbing, masterful, it’s, oh gee
Drunks are always funny
Otis stretched in a Mayberry cell,
Mom told me later
My best friend drank himself to sleep
She had to be kidding–That’s Not funny!
This stuff’s balloon-juice to helium-laugh at goofs,
We’re not supposed to drink it



LONG, Gov. Huey Pierce Jr. (1893-1935)
(and GO, Gillis!)


Every time I spin that eulogizin’ 78
That sittin’-’round-the-shack death shellac
For sure knowing history of hucksters
In the southern part of my own state,
I think, stump, ’bout them who thinks stump
And “need” becomes a relative word
Post-Paine Reason says, postsecondary,
“If every man is a king, you don’t have royalty!”
Ah, but you miss the mark.
You’re not thinking 4th-dimensionally, Marty!
The bullet No Longer exists, in the 21st Century!
So, if you quote Castro instead
That the very right
That the people need
Is the right to live     And to work     And to eat
You wanta hand it to camou
Instead of doublebreasted,
What do I care?
I’m just-a sittin’ ’round the shack with
Some twangyass 78 RPM shellac
Thinking how, as goes BEN HUR,
You can’t fight an idea



The American Internationale


The photo of the Hammer and Sickle
May, 1945
Being raised above the Reichstag
Above the ash heap of Berlin,
No matter one’s age or bent,
No matter be-in’s, no matter Nixon,
No matter professors denouncing,
No matter Elia Kazan,
No matter that ducking and covering was
Chemically useless,
No matter Red whites and their blues,
Whatever hate for whatever stereo image
Any lover holds jealous, embarrassed,
In their heart,
The Soviet soldiers raise the Hammer and Sickle
In archival photo
Above a thwarted world,
Every American, somewhere internal,
Willing, unwilling, reflex, auto
Sees, feels, thinks,
“We did it! We beat the Naha-haht-zis!”




War Lincoln Memorial
(there used to be fascistic horses)

Gold-lookin’ bronze made of brass tin,
Pot metal we’d accepted from Mussolini
Opening the then-gateway
As you spilled out of traffic to the
Pillar lover’s memorial
Great glistening muscle-socialist horsies
kick your ASS horses
Facing you majestic, toward
The Abe
Gifts from Fascist Italy, our friend
Still there in the 1950’s,
The veterans having saved Private Ryan
And unconcerned about aesthetics,
Trotting off, quietly, some time before advent of
Abbie Hoffman
(I assume they left before Abbie Hoffman;
I’m sure we would have heard about them)




Fountain of the Great Lakes (the Art Institute of Chicago)

Lunchtime, 1968
No one flipped
When the hippies
Guy, girl
Danced about the fountain
They danced clothed
Then, they danced naked
A lot of touching, chasing, so forth
The guy tooting a flute
Chicago’s finest, NOW nowhere about
We all of us
Staring dumbly, muted
Double-breasted sales partner asks, zombified,
“You think maybe Nixon has a chance in November?”

Chesterfield pulled, thermometer
Out of my mouth
“Will it matter?”




But Vivian Leigh’s in Heaven

“After all, tomorrow…is another day…!”
BUMmmm! Ba-wee-wah-woo…! Ba-weeee-waah-wooo…!

Best pal’s little girl isn’t satisfied
What happened to Melly?”
“She died, honey.”
“Where did she go?”
So we showed her
The Snake Pit

A few hours later, off to bed
A few hours later, child wakes up
Screaming like the damned
“Ah, the power of de Havilland,” buddy chuckles, high-fiving
“Can I steal some more Stoley’s?” asked my ability to cope, and
He reached for it
Amid the din




Thanks for the infinite recursive loop

Mom, back when she still smoked
Hack-coughing, still laughing, parrot,
As Bob Hope’s not funny, again
On The Tonight Show:
“Papua New Guinea, ladies and gentlemen!
and New Guinea!
Ain’t nothin’ “new” in New Guinea,
Way down yonder in the Papua patch!”

Color-bled people, many dead for ages,
Baa-ing woolly delight at
Sacharine Old Show Biz,
Noses tunneling up, into their faces
As my geekazoid bud shows me the graphic he made,
OTEP, full frontal
Doing a slow, SEGA 16-bit softshoe
Back and forth across the screen,
“Look, I can put Git-Mo behind her!
She’s strutting it in front of
And all I hear is filtered smoke
And all I see are sheep cries,
As Johnny tells karma We’ll Be Right Back



There Were Pershings in the Earth in Those Days

In General, truth of myth
Heels cracking smartbomb,
Cataclysm’s own sound, the crack of
Malamud laying open Roy Hobbs’ tree
Block person of hard carve,
Steel serenity whose duty ruined serenity,
A Wonderboy bat of smite marching our world so safe
Beyond any different drum,
That, if ethereal fantasies pretties had the least basis in reality,
Would have found it only natural to subjugate
The elves



Keep Laughin’, Mr. Dragon

Go on
Have another vodka
Count your doubloons, bullion
Your silver, silver certificates, red notes
Watch your films,
Braying approval
Nodding Lugosi at your own genius
Call the ex-scort service, again
Wink at table and in bed
Of that world, the world of
Gold plate
Vacuum tubes
And beginnings you called
Gilding it, removing all dross
Of cruelty meted out
Yuck-yuck all you like, adream
But be advised, Ollie
Somewhere, near distant, bleeding and naked in the rain
Kukla waits
And, Fran isn’t here to save you.



The Strange Architecture of President Harding

(Marion Flo)

In Gaston Means’ book,
Dirty naughty nasty tellallaboutit
From a dawn when–If–the Enquirer
Could have ruled the Earth
When dreadful penny dreadfuls still told The Truth
Because only the indecent, the scoundrels
Would ever lie…and the decent were never scoundrels

In Gaston Means’ book,
First Lady Florence Harding ‘fesses bold as murderess
A heavy in a Columbo episode
With no Columbo to decently end us on
Good Triumphs Over Evil, cuing
“Well, thank God for that! Gonna go shushy-bye, now”

In Gaston Means’ book,
Floss said she done done it
But those studious who thump “historian”
So far beyond her Day
Don’t wish the stereo, the cut-and-dried
God forbid, the goofy fact of that
Bit of cabaret, carnivale, corn dog in that
Warren Harding’s Memorial was built to resemble
A giganticus merry-go-round
Flossy having taken us for the giggly ride
Having the Means to tell us, then helped off pony
By thrust lower lips
Who hold Life and Death on the serious



When terror was only Sinister

It carried with it base cold
A chilliness of visage, the
Calculated iced hatred of a Fu Manchu
Some Soviet
Refrigerator Hatred, an “old” feeling
Courtesy of survivors of Eurasia’s supercollision of
Ancient and Modern
But, with requisite maniacal laughter, natch
Just when They thought They had you;
When terror was sinister,
It was a poster
It was a character
It was a symbol
Now, it’s an endless talking point
Hot milk for baby adults
Prayer in the fiery furnace discussions of
Children with whom I grew up,
Fanning the hammer, Cowboys and Injuns
Animated schoolyard confabbing, televised,
Revising Them
Reprising Rocket J. Squirrel



Wocka-Wocka Cowardice (Campus Arcade, 1/81)

First game, ever (what is this?)
I thought Pac-Man chased the ghosties
Pac was a Man, thought I
A Popeye mouth prepared to do battle;
Sped helleather for one, and — —
So taught the New Lesson:
Flight instead of Fight
Fine, thought I, walking away with
Three happy quarters,
Whatever you want
But, if ever again monsters, or even their ghosts
Don’t expect another
Iwo Jima



X-ers, Leatherbound

Smithsonian wandering
The Fonz’ jacket, dormant
Wistful, seeing leagues backward
Through crocodile tears
When, in Truth, in the 50’s
Ev eryone was a Christmas shepherd, sore afraid
And, in the 60’s, via this, pissed off
In the 70’s,
They drank gallons of margaritas with sexperiment liqueur
And, in the 80’s
Supplied their side with as much green Me as possible
In the 90’s, though, bellied up to sitting home
With new DVDs of Happy Days
Which they cluck about, kaffeeklatsch, on Facebook,
With friends who aren’t friends who aren’t friends



Hitlerelly, Hitlerelly

More realistic than wishes, Dad!
For once upon a time lived Hobo Joe
In them Vienna Days
Bindled (or diddled) stiff by Life
But, by jiminy,
Given a dainty, brown wool frock,
A (magical?) armband,
A coach made of enough stolen gold to build
An Iron Land
…or, maybe the coach was the first Panzer,
I don’t know, I’d have to check on that…
Given enough broken glass slippers to Krrrssshhh-Tinkle!! a race
And, at the Appointed Hour,
None of us
Not one of us
Not we, thee, them or I
Were almost ever allowed to
Just breathe

…oh, yeah, wow, I’m dumb
Jiminy was in Pinocchio




I heard the Greatest Generation die

Bowling alley
Xmas Eve afternoon, 1988
Had to hurry-scurr, up and check our shoes
The VFW was heatin’ up
Xmas tunes, ca. 10,000,000 B.C.
Smoke, wafts of liquor
Loud oldboyism
From Those Who Knew Everything
and did
As the senior lady rang us up, I wanted to ask her,
“How did you
Get here?”
Oldstyle cash register
ka-ching ringing as                (furtive glance)
Toward hand-polished lanes
Well, thinks I
That’s the Jingle Bell Rock



Stallone, I Am Alone
Arnold, Hear My Prayer

Hand cannon
Pithy comment
Slow motion death
And then, the 80’s ended
And then, we had to care
The video outlet remaining as hoary temple,
A shrine for my kind
Inward-turned devotees of a large god
That thought of no one
Upon magnetic tape, in particles It Is Written,
There is no substance in Substance
For all is infinite Form




Pete Seeger (a personal synopsis)

Whenever I agreed with him,
Smooth and light
Humdeediddle, wayowayhmm, weeb’doodoodoo
When I disagreed
Ire’d think,
“Why doesn’t some nice Bund member
Stove in this subversive’s head?”
But then, another I was behind all the way
Hoopdeedaidle, wheeowhee, jumdeedumpdumpdum




Lucky Contestant, 1968

Game show hair
Masquerading as a person
Said, Fire it up
And, you win
You chose the Firebird
You                      did
Bells, sirens, lights, chaos
Big Shot Neighbor for almost as long as it comp’d a
Drink, free-poured;
Your car-prize didn’t arrive for more than three years
When it did, it was the same one
(Now faulty of alternator)
From the show
Cancelled and off air for ages
We, together as brothers, pushed it along into
The grammar school parking lot, directly beneath Old Glory
Up, Up, and firm onto Don’twalkonthegrass,
And, with a farewell to games, caught the 3:10 to Yuma
To ‘Nam




Delic Before Funk

A lot of color in the 60’s
All those living most intense, dyed
Silent Majority LOUD of ties
Even sleeping souls pumped to bright, late night
Pastel wastrels by
“The following program is brought to you in…”

Other and weirder, electric, later on,
We teens the gliding power shines of
Powder light
Humming like telephone lines in school
(And we thought it was our youth)
Neon, the most identifiable
Periodic Element in the Table

Color gels in, squirting then, wild, with MTV,
Everything had Red in it — Red was omni — and
Patterns, even the B&W grids, screamed up the nostrils
Everything was burst, was salutation
Sight was an Alive, or Then was a
Was a
Everything was

Earth tones and everdrab, subdued
Replete with heavy inks of reality soaking dull into
Just a day
Plain on our plane of the plain Plains
And everything young, mumping resentful–
Perhaps only rightly so–
For our
Taking the last fun




Nov. 22nd Comes Between Nov. 21st and Nov. 23rd

Reminiscence is
Whimsy, overtickling, at some given
Some very near
Tributes cloying, ear wax of mind
However one once believed
For a single moment,
Play pretend that
JFK lived on
He’s an old man, now, peacegnarled
Ensnarled instead by Life
The Magic Grand Scheme Theory:
It was a Time
He was a Man
Point blank, period
Shut Up




Back to the Sinclair Station

As for forbidden kisses from Mamie Van Doren
Through unrent veil of ectoplasm,
We were adjudged Merc-worthy
To ride Was through Is, half carnival ha-ha, half carnal
Getting to love the “gone”
As we managed to forget that worlds collide
1950 gleam-chrome nosing bullet
Through insectoids of signals in the air
Splashguards mirror-finished, sun,
A 4th dimension of our own

Friend has to drive it, or Time spoils from stasis
Higher than every weak cousin on the highway
Bouncing on unforgiving back seat
As any back seat joy , it was consumed, then truncated
When we came to notice notice
Huddling, afterward
Pierced by arrows of scrutiny
As everyone gawked,
Half-head sneers at the goofing mooning
Of the hubcaps of
The cute




Hurtfire lights the way

I think of Jerry Lewis’ pain
Grinning , nittynutty aeons of
Marching, tortured genius
Perhaps genius spurred into manied
Prisms, spectrum gamut of
Kaleidoscopic creation, sired by
Very suffering
Epiphanies, wave after wave,
“Brought to you by,
Bring The Pain”
Rushurt of incredible mind
Blooming Eden beneath, under knives
I admire Jerry Lewis’ pain
I wouldn’t want it in a million years




Honkin’ Ike (the 6 cent-er, the big one)

Insane grandpa
Grizzled wino
Skull with bunting
Craziness dipped
Tingler lurching
Urgency personified
He wants to eat me with them teeth
I’m scared
Who’s sadistic idea was it to start me this
Stamp collection?




The Wehrmacht Weren’t So Tough

The Balkans must’ve been easy to conquer
Hessian boots tromping hurried, messy
As into someone’s foyer:

One goose-step, Two goose-step
Three goose-step, Four
There                Boom
You’ve invaded the whole thing
I hope you’re satisfied
How very rude

Yes, you’re in charge
Wipe your feet





Welles (Brass Ring, Candy Kane)

If fancied at all
It’s fancy for ‘Kane
Try to fancy
As gambler’s dare
Rube placing his very All
Upon Devil’s table
Asserting he can floor the strongman
With a single blow
If wrong, if no, if not, he is then Job, bereft
Of course
he                  you                  lost
No one floors the strongman, Orson
Though you are
Our most holy of Almosts
For almost milliards
A cinch to grow on
Orson hors d’oeuvre
In hopes of the hungers of




Everything You Always Wanted In A Battle

(contains anachronism)

They were shooting each other down, October, ’57
In the maze of the Kasbah,
Unable to breathe as brethren
Nor wishing the special ability of
Such breath
Seethe people
Of the proud belief
One can expire contrary to
The Book of Trumbo
“Algeria is Arabic!”, screamed one as he fired
“It is French!” screamed one as he died
“Less filling!” screamed I, and
Took the bullet meant for me




All I Did Was Blink

Fell asleep as a kid
Right before the creature feature
Local news reporting Danang
Had fallen to the Cong,
Woke up during the creature feature
King Kong
Noble Johnson
As tribal chieftain
Blatting on and on:
And it hit me with .30 Vickers twin-mounted machineguns:
I was a middleaged man
Life is the creature feature
Humanity–too often–its monsters

Face, hopes falling headlong,
I sighed glass at the glass tit,
Changing the damned channel to E!
Beauty on there is so hot




In Defense of 1979


See, when you feather your hair
There appears to be more of it
Abundance not usually being issue or concern
Through growth of maturation of hoariness of jade
One’s grown old enough to be
Caught short and
By propriety




TVA is a Fraternity


Hillbilly IS Country
Its actual musical
That conquered squeal unheard as Hendrix brought his guitar
To orgasm;
Somewhere between Jed, Granny and
The Summer of Love
“Yee-HAH!!” went away as truest,
Flatt statement of soul
Born again as heresy in our
Soap-opry land
As what college students yell
When mindlessly drunk




Great Balls o’ Zyklon B


Always wanted the glockenspiel
Storm trooper
To kick away the
Euphonium guy
And start banging the chimes
Like Jerry Lee Lewis
“With it” with the band, an
SS slice of a cheesy Devo video
Time-lapsed flower burst
Of the seed of
Fully human
Before the clarinetist shot him



What I Would Have Been, 1968


The one who eschewed the reefer
Who wore a “Nixon’s the One!” button
And said, yeah, sure, but we’ve gotta stand up to the
Yelling harsh at the hairheads from my Buick,
Not wanting to be them
Or me



Cosell (Co-Soul)


Horseass Imitators
Run their mimicry
In imp simpering
Syllables of
Dog growl and peanut butter stick
(With a dash of nasal congestion)
Bald irony of any thwarted teacher’s life:
The masses are asses
You knew that





Sorry, Henry
Nothing of substance, here
Just always wanted that word in a
Been thinking really damned hard
About living in a novel by
Phillip K. Dick
Where the Axis revolved around
The Earth
And things were so rigid and sad
You can say they were, anyway
Back when         But,
You were pellmell for Sad,
If immune to the grin of
Buffalo Bob



Storefront, 8/1/66 (Sampler of Whitman)


The hard candy’s best
I like the hard candy
Life doesn’t have a soft center
A Self Center
‘Ze what makes the hard
“Difficult” dudn’t apply when you’re hard
You see a camera, you smile
You see a clock, you know the time
Time towers over every man
And, lemmetellya
Bob Zimmerman might be
Changing Time’s diapers,
But tick tick tick, know whut I’m sayin’?
Hard candy, cold, hard candy
Like being spirit beings
Inside these husks’es
I want a hunk a’ Life
I’ll settle for the hard

Getcha out from behind the counter
Ring me up, old boy
Them’s just bullets, ain’t gonna hurtcha
Just some bullets
Somebody’s hurtin’




Maybe Lenny Was The Zhlub


The lowlife threw his head and howled,
“Dirty Lenny! He died for your sins!!”
And all I had wanted
Was an addition
For my collection
Not catheter catharsis
Hip idiom
Yiddish idiom
Carnegie Hall smoke mist
Of alien weavings
As highballs clink ice in another world
Lenny a guerrilla Garrison Keillor
New FrontierBeGone
And lowlifes throw their heads and howl

Pearl Harbor Day


I am
Not interested
In a universe of love
Interested, though
In blooded flags
In muddied faces
In huddled masses
That smote the heathen
No forgiveness
No redemption
In a banzai charge
In mindseye;
If you will not say,
I was wrong
I can live without ya, Fonz.

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One comments on “Poetry by CEE”

  1. Love the adventurous level of writing, that brings you to the edge, then reels you back in, to want to jump for more. Give us more! We want more!!!!! So CEE tickle the ebony keys of your keyboard and give us more. Much love.

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.“Community Bookshelf, #1"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Short Fiction

photo by Pedro Coelho/Deviant Art/CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DEED
“After The Death of Margaret: A True Novella” by S. Stephanie...This story -- a finalist in our recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest -- harkens back to Richard Brautigan's fiction of the '70s, and explores modern day co-worker relationships/friendship and the politics of for profit "Universities"

Short Fiction

painting of Gaetano Donizetti by Francesco Coghetti/via Wikimedia Commons
“A Single Furtive Tear” – a short story by Dora Emma Esze...A short-listed entry in the recently concluded 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest, the story is a heartfelt, grateful monologue to one Italian composer, dead and immortal of course, whose oeuvre means so much to so many of us.


photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950’s Quartets...Long regarded as jazz music’s most eminent baritone saxophonist, Gerry Mulligan was a central figure in “cool” jazz whose contributions to it also included his important work as a composer and arranger. Noted jazz scholar Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets, and Jerry Jazz Musician contributing writer Bob Hecht discuss Mulligan’s unique contributions to modern jazz.

Book Excerpt

“Chick” Webb was one of the first virtuoso drummers in jazz and an innovative bandleader dubbed the “Savoy King,” who reigned at Harlem’s world-famous Savoy Ballroom. Stephanie Stein Crease is the first to fully tell Webb’s story in her biography, Rhythm Man: Chick Webb and the Beat that Changed America…The book’s entire introduction is excerpted here.

Short Fiction

pixabay.com via Picryl.com
“The Silent Type,” a short story by Tom Funk...The story, a finalist in the recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest, is inspired by the classic Bob Dylan song “Tangled Up in Blue” which speculates about what might have been the back story to the song.

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music, by Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work


Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance: “Outtakes” — Vol. 2...In this edition, the authors Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder share examples of Cha Cha Cha record album covers that didn't make the final cut in their book

Pressed for All Time

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 17 — producer Joel Dorn on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s 1967 album, The Inflated Tear

Coming Soon

An interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 - 1960;  an interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the 60's Girl Groups;  a new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Eubie Blake
Click to view the complete 22 year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake (pictured); Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

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