Poetry by Melanie Simms

January 22nd, 2010


Moon Ode (for Congressman Sam Farr)

Shall I trust the moon?
She flirts behind purple clouds
Veiling her luminous face
Like a naughty trickster
In a bad moon-mood.

I want to tell her to
“Take a leap,”
And she does
Over the next cloudy fence
Until finally,
Reminded of her manners,
Floats across my view
With a graceful smile
And offers her




Poetic Psalm

I am the Poet Laureate
Eternal truths,
My laurel is a reigning voice
For all humanity,
Demanding delivery
Knowing that soon
“The cock will crow,”
And deceptions will be
Unveiled behind the mask
Of the forgotten one.

I am the broken heart,
Revealed by
My instrument beats
Like the rhythm of the
Eternal song
Strung by muses,
Sources of pain and of fresh
Revelations…like tulips,
Its fragrance inhaled on the first
New morning of your life; its
Heaven-scent breeze of our delicate
Lives entrusted
By the soul of the serious one,
The meaning of

Revealed; its
Vibrant, its
Existence a
Reality that never ends…traveling beyond the
Expression of the last vowel of your lungs breath,
Toxic truth exhaled, its remainder
The end.

Not on this earth,
Death the new beginning
Of the new alphabet.





Pains of the 40-Something
Aching back, forsaken loves
Youthful bounce now replaced
By something heavier, more pronounced,
A slower gait, a sagging tummy.

I sit here wondering what will become
Of me; watching my mother, 70-something
Reeling from the force of it all.

I feel it too, but I can still bench press 95 pounds,
And on a good day
Walk fast, 45 minutes uphill
Fighing gravity like an astronaut
Walking the surface of the moon, feeling for a
Moment the ecstasy of weightlessness…but too
Soon I am once again
Here on earth.




When You Have Loved a Man



When you have loved a man
You do not forget the way
The earth awakened
And the music of angels
Accompanied you

When you have loved a man
You remember the weakness
Behind your knees,
The flutterings inside your tummy
Telling you that you are so happy
To be terrified like this.

When you have loved a man
Good and hard, you remember
The way he said, “I love you,”
And the way he kissed you,
His tongue dancing warm
Inside your mouth.

You remember
His heart beating in your ear
And your hair spread
Across his chest.

When you have loved a man
You do not forget your dreams,
The cottage in the country,
The world at your feet,
Love at your side

When you have loved a man
You do not forget the way
He said goodbye, the way his
Words clung to your breast,
Through the night
Clattering like chains on the ghost
Of your past,
Until by some grace of heaven
You are freed.





Mad drummers play pain upon my ears
Seeking recognition
From empty chairs and barren hallways.

Their beatings rage against the solace of my home
And seek to drown me.

Leave me cold, wet drummers
Find peace with your instrument
I have no quarrel with you!



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In This Issue

"Nina" by Marsha Hammel
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition...One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within the pages of this website. (Featuring the art of Marsha Hammel)

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“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

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