Poetry by Roger Singer

May 26th, 2013


by Roger Singer

Poet Roger Singer

About Roger Singer


Dr. Singer has been in private practice for 37 years in upstate New York. He has four children, Abigail, Caleb, Andrew and Philip and two grandchildren. Dr. Singer has served on multiple committees for the American Chiropractic Association, lecturing at colleges in the United States, Canada and Australia, and has authored over fifty articles for his profession and served as a medical technician during the Vietnam era.

Dr. Singer has had over 750 poems published on the internet, magazines and in books. Some of the magazines that have accepted his poems for publication are: Westward Quarterly, Jerry Jazz, SP Quill, Avocet, Underground Voices, Outlaw Poetry, Literary Fever, Dance of my Hands, Language & Culture, The Stray Branch, Tipton Poetry Journal and Indigo Rising.

Recently, Dr. Singer had a book published on Amazon called, “Poetic Jazz,”  which is a collection of words describing the music and people of jazz. It is with great appreciation to Mr. Joe Maita, of Jerryjazz.com, that this collection and future writings are a direct result of his encouragement to me and the many jazz poems he has so kindly published.



Patent leather tapping music

filling the feet, swinging the soul,

burning up rhythm and jive

not for hearts without soul or

heads twisted wrong, this jazz

fills each day regardless of holidays

or special dates

scratched on calendars, because

this is the up of songs, the heavy

of blues, bathing and swirling,

pulling at the ears, making fingers

snap at the listening and striking fast

the irons of hot, breathing out the

cool in the horns of gold while drums

bang at heaven and people

sing up fast with the great alive.


Engine words roughed and ragged

fell out of him, crushing

the room, pushing back like

a wind energy

strengthening like a storm

wild with debris and alarm

waking the untrusting

slapping the innocent

Stirring an motion

wild with song

a moaning like windows opening

after winter silence

he stretches his hands in faith

when midnight swings

to pop and jive

as eyes speak lightening

he embraces the currents

of an upstream life

breathing hard with passion

in the life he commands

a freight train of emotions

he fills the void.


Songs overflow from doors

opening to the sidewalk

where.neon lights

baptize the weak, stirring the curiosity of

a night strung tight

while others pray in alleys

whispering their sins

under a celestial curtain as

stars cross behind the black

of space where not

a molecule is out of place

as cool air covers the tapestry

of the city and liberal

sounds drift to the street

drenching the people

from the day

and the day before.



The fingers of his childhood
pointed into heaven, teasing angels
with music food, coaxing their beauty
to his porch to slap their wings
in approval.

Mockingbirds held the tongue
of their voices when his horn
owned the air, bending
the sky onto the dust of his shoes.

Fields of labor stirred the rocks
of his shoulders and the creases
deep in his hands; long days
formed his strength.

The jazz put him deep in his color.


Shadowed images crowd deep into him
releasing the engine of his drive;
rough breathing scrambles
onto walls of dreams where innocence
covers sin

His jazz is wind. A coursing of multiple
gusts turns heads while capturing idle thoughts.

He stirs under covers of
restless sleep. Nightmares call him by name.
A cutting moon drifts layers of silver over him.
He feels sound, echoes of song move
his lips.

Veils of memories, voices drying on the line
lift from the pillow. He breathes
youth. The ease of summer is full. Without regrets
music gives him her heart.


His jazz is thick,
mantled in hair
black with twists
rich with shine
absorbing the lights
as his hands
push the track of
of his love
while fingers
run over fences
in his mind
into shadowed alleys
where smoke
chokes the air
as his eyes close
he slaps the bass
awakening the life
spilling into ears
the many paths of him
with a glimpse
of a life
even he cannot
fully explain
with fingers
and a bass.


I’m feeling the blues
not like I lost my cat
or it’s raining outside
my blues
is the jazz blood
a night stream
of snap beats
sweaty collars
long suspenders
and sweet legs
where whiskey and ice
and beer without foam
soothes without bruising
while running notes
rise from ivory flags
blending with brass
over sawdust floors
welcoming willows
soft summer bend
and ocean arms wide
and skies watching
angels over Natchez
where everything
is cured and fried
in dust side shacks
the jazz lives
beating hard
from raspy throats
claiming a blessing
living the dream.


Treasures uncovered
delights hidden
musicians in motion
gates and shadows
unwelcome guests
changing tides
angels without wings
heaven understanding
rain and mud
wandering shoes
bouquets welcome
youth rejects fear
a jewel covered
crestfallen heroes
tomorrow becomes history
secrets of death
roads without shoulders
curves with weight
the yeast of gold
unwilling words
Kerouac’s typewriter
Ginsberg’s glasses
wine with flavor
sugar is king
the Middle Passage weeps
fallowed fields
honesty breathes hard.


Her voice with
forms satin folds
creating wings
of flight
lifting into
inferior to

She owns the
absorbing the gazes
of listeners
and the jealous.

She is
the beginning
of all notes
living within

Pouting lips
the lust directed
from her eyes
as she
between notes,
holding hearts
like thieves
being caught.




That black 33 1/3
circled the life of song
spinning it out
in round of rounds
dark shiny onyx
like Alabama nights
pushed a sound of
scratch and horns
and bass with drums
forming a jumpy beat
as the man on ivories
jams the air
choking out a new sound
free of starch
alive to feet and hands
rubbing in the jazz
like Cleopatra’s oil
smoother than glass
with aroma
that no one



Strong with solemn gestures building
he created a wind of jazz
like a hungry sail, biting into storms
he stretched his fingers to limits
distant from mortals who dream
as he laughed with his eyes
at those nearby, marveling at his
passion alive.

The air tasted sweet
jumping from that horn
his lips pressed tight, born to metal
moist and fixed
as sweat coursed a jagged path
where he stood dark with envy.

Stars reflect over smooth waters
shinning once in heaven
and once on earth
finding pleasure in the wandering part
of his soul.



Lazy humid Lake Pontchartrain
breezes slip sideways
through turquoise louvered doors
past a cat, on a stool with its legs hanging
like green tangled moss
as the man, deep with pillow worship
lays still, breathing soft, his hands open and flat
holds court with dreams of last night
the jazz holding tight
the band cutting through
the girl singing, radiant with darkness
painted on her lips, possessing the ears
drawing them like nets bringing the catch
she spins the web, feeding the dancers, the listeners
the evil forming in eyes
till night became morning and streets welcomed
strays and people lost unsure of time
wandering to Jackson Square finding sleep
like the man in the apartment
turning without waking, hearing her voice
speak his name.



In her is the child. The innocent
eager voice of jazz slipping to the creases of air,
building energy from slapping screen doors,
where thick smiles release engines
of sound.

Hallways yawn drained flat colors.
Doors without names, voices that don’t belong
drown within the circle and
swell of music jumping the transom
of her apartment.

Sleep stirs the criminal hungry soul
of beating drums and horns running
while night twists
and silken arms hold strangers
under a flat silver moon.

Hands clap a final pause before quiet.
Her light dims, then falls into night.
The sound filters lightly like the last breath
from her apartment.


Words and sounds
rise without
like smoke
drifting thin
from the pure message
of the jazz
the music
how it
creeps to
the top
viewing the world
like cream
rich with thick
bubbling with up
rising till
the top flips
into falling off
then rolls
with roundness
over and through
pounding at doors
swimming oceans
flexing its branches
to all corners
spreading the
of growth
to the hunger
of souls.


His belong was
jazz loud
bright with the gold
of a front tooth
reflecting the light he
in the moment of a
deep crushed out sound
as the world
fades briefly
under the half mast eyes
of curtains
half covering half revealing
a thick spread
of voice sweeping
the tide of his
years from corners
a blue black story
of windy years
behind hands of pain
that never wash
stained by the
Middle Passage
of those bravely before


People gather on
fire escape balconies
clapping a beat into night winds
as musicians in the street below
lure the people closer with sound
as the reason to reason
spills from a half blood moon
releasing rhythm legs
to be free
as a warm shower of jazz
spills into humid air
and people dance
the volume of life
with fingers stretching to heaven
as sidewalks fill
and hands release
the deep of deep.


The molasses of sound
dripped slow
flavoring him since youth
when jazz got onto
his ear
like a propeller wash
of beats
making a whirr and buzz
like coffee all night
and golden arms
with trumpets
slivering the truth
out of him
surfacing with a suddenness
like food slipping from the
fingers of angels
into a hungry air
greedily expanding
and pulsing a vibe into
feather floating fans
pushing the words
and shadowing the room
as he sings
“You got me right”.



She sang strong
From her cage of burdens.
Light footed thoughts,
the ones broken in early dreams
slipped between the hurry
of love and the shadow of gone.

She released a scent of pain
while baptizing ears
in a room soaked with jazz
as hands paused from evil.

Her arms reached out
as desperate words circled her,
searching for a place
to be received
like the brokenness
of her youth.

She bridged herself into the crowd,
raising the wave into hours
of song.



The crossroads of the beat
fills the shoes of his travel
under dark blankets of stars
weeping at the making of jazz
as the sweat of him
drips over his eyes
watering the seeds
in his mouth
forming words
that river run
his horn
waking Gabriel
as the sound walks the walls
stepping over yesterdays puddles
and pushing aside lazy
corner room smoke
where dark love
and tender tomorrows
are surrendered to silk
fingers and forked tongues
where kings drink whiskey
and women breathe the blues
and doors welcome
all shapes of hearts
under a hard moon
pressing silver onto streets
where high heels
and suspenders
find their way to
the place.


The rock of his fingers
scratches out, pounds out
the language of jazz,
spreading over fast hearts and
soft skin.

A wretched smile, crooked with time,
boiled in emotion soup,
spreads him out
as he releases the scars of
high and low,
winds of cold
and years
remembered with trouble.

His fingers swim
the streams of persuasion
as the crowd moves closer
with eyes to his throne
where a wave of sound
becomes captured
and then released
into the
black of his breath.


Like a volcano flow,
heat and wind,
fire in air, the jazz rolls with
innocent violence to the shoreline of ears.

A sound of waves and
ocean full
strikes up a circus of energy parades,
marching great lines while
opening eyes.

An unbroken evening full of grace
waits on the start of
great openings
while heavens pause with shallow breaths
and women
with magnolia corsages
stretch out the words
of a song.


The spin of his
rolls in grand
twisting, tumbling over
into a voice of growls
into solid dog eared
flea bitten and worn
like harvest
he shouts up with
of fire unquenched
as if kicked from
setting up swirling
flaming the starving
inhaling the gots and the
stirring the dead from
in a death almighty cold
alive breathing like
warm with evening
slapping sawdust out of
as their feet dig into a new



Her jazz. Blowing down.
Leveling sides of weak and strong.
A burn bakes off the bad as her sound rises from a dark place.

She’s cooked up. Hearts rise in the bread of music heat.
An ocean of lipped songs cleans the ears.

Over the color, past gates of wandering
without shoes, she finds a place, a power of fearful strength.

From up she looks over, never down,
lifting new light to old corners,
spitting out the days of hate.



Lay down
the notes
soft like
covering wide
with sweet

  jazzy air
  rolling like
  full of steam
boiling hot
  down long

soaking the land
with notes
catching people
from behind
and all over
with the blend
too strong
to ignore

  like coffee
breaking open
  the morning
as clouds
  slide smooth
  going on
  like the music
  round the



Jazz rained down in rivers
catching out strong soul
and soft hands
rising to the call of music prayers
among blind angels
who fail on color
and possess great mercy
scattering dark thoughts,
lost eyes,
and roads leading from home
and shoes speaking miles
and dirty hands
breathing out the land
with labor work
as cars roll by and tires splash
yesterdays puddles
turning up nations of dirt
as colors rich with rhythm
press the rock of flesh
draining the hate
and melting the change
of years of blood chains
and stiff straw
and bed songs sung to children
and Sundays
with amen’s rising.



He was becoming the ground.
Saturating the soil with jazz sweat
as he loosened the lines to men
and women and the breaths that seek
the flame of him
and the fire shared to ears that hear.
Not the stone blood faces turned
without favor; those burnt out
but appearing alive.
He fingered his hair with long
slow strokes as the strands
fell back onto his forehead.
A voice called his name but
he turned not, more interested
in the sound before him
at the altar he made.



A black tire face. Haunting. Brushes at the
vibes of inner rhythms.
He pulls at the apple of sweet lipstick where
his words form on ivories. Satisfaction
sheds in gray tones from his shirt. His hat dips
over yesterdays eyes and the aftertaste of
cold ribs and beer as the crowd stands at the pressure
of the jazz with liquid whispers of his
language. He opens the store of busy fingers
swaying like a disturbed ocean.
He wears a favorite shirt, sweat soaked
under fans weakly pushing the aroma of
dark thoughts as dancers merge in the middle
where everyone learns to



Real time straight jazz
curved the room.
Its ribbons of play formed justice
to notes,
releasing streams of fever.

Unconnected sounds rush over
a landscape of faces
and whispering fingers.

The pulse of breathing
mists the windows
as dancers and spirits of long nights
course their path to dawn.

Red dusted words
lip from his mouth,
falling out, tumbling,
evolving into the salt of fullness,
a flavor unique to
his sweat.


Spilled whiskey is the sweat of jazz,
inspiration circling in a glass
where spirit hands lift winged thoughts
from soul to sound
to a phone number
where a bed without a name
holds cold shoulders and brushes back
uncombed hair
and doors shut quietly
on 1:00 AM eyes
as the city sounds call out
the black and white
of unshaven faces of song
and trolley cars
with angels and evil as they
ride in slumber without words
as hands weave in corners
and feet step off
and the aroma of the city stretches
a pointed finger
toward night.


Under the skin, a motor of sound.
Molasses fingertips play dark thick jazz.
Wet soaked dirt roads kick
start the aroma of his thoughts.

Smooth perfumed skin smiles into his lust.
His mile of strong words runs like
a river engine; a power few own.

A wind moves on a sweet green growing
field. His youth, shoeless, fills his
pockets with songs.

He opens the rich burden of giving,
without taking back.


An over wind pushed up a black
shirt collar; his shoes form a bond
with wet sidewalks.

His eyes absorb the night,
like a hawk searching the land.

Lines of street lights step him
from one circle to the next,
where he slides through and shadows
cool his face.

A heaven sent sky broods over his
shoulders and unshaven soul.

The filtering of jazz seeps from open doors,
mixing an aroma of smoke and whiskey,
watering the garden of his skin
with the blood of sound.



Paths of dust circle his name,
rising like a sun of eyes
watching a circle of moons
fall into the river of his jazz
where he pulls heavy at the waters
twisting them up into waves of air
cooling the heat of his strides
as he swaggers sweetly
while the sound crashes on a shoreline
where he stands with legs firm
and scars from travel
mixed with blood
on the letter of his face.




The music of jazz
crawled dirty
on the ground
with notes rolling
like men fighting
hot with anger
cool with force
strung tight
like a guitar
in the hands
of an old man
with fingers black
and rich
breathing and strumming
like oceans roaring
while his story
rushes to the surface
in waves of power
as his hat tips
bouncing with life
and his eyes
circle the room
like hungry birds
flapping, turning,
diving, lifting
repeating again
that sound
born to stretch
over everyone.




He left the room bruised
from his music; like a fighters
corner without a stool.

Strange eyes followed the linen
of his walk; the breeze he caused
and its wake smoothed into
whispered corners.

His steps owned the path to
No door offered resistance
to the warmth of his cool.

He shed his skin during music runs,
draining fast the blood of sound
through the voice of
sax brassed out.




She is my midnight.
Stars resign to her glow.
I fail beneath her shadow.

Her long steady voice
streams a full liquid onto
the street,
reaching ears,
turning faces with
magnetic force.

Neon lights point direction
to her altar.
Musical fingers raise her.
Horns and strings cry the
company she possesses.
A soft pain releases to
the floor and beyond.

A voice,
a fashion full of sweet
tips the scales
as the cup of jazz




The pleasure’s got his pain,
as tides rise and colors slip the doors
speaking his jazz into high corners
where names of him
reach the dogs of night, feeding their growl,
fueling the thoughts of love
lost in the leaving of shoes
and the rooms of broken visions left behind
and the darkness of smiles
painted red with words
drowned in half promises as they sink
like stones of favor to the bottom
where he picks up and strikes the high notes,
marking the place as his;
empty glasses speak of dreams.




A hill with faces
and sidewalks,
green shoes and sneakers
without laces,
chalkboard menus,
peppers and onions
and bicycles passing
apartments with yellow
shutters and
terracotta pots with
flowers reaching over
touching heads
as buses crawl
and street cars
sing the cables and
pulleys stretch,
the youth laugh
with tan skin and
soft faces as they walk
on checkerboard tiled
floors to diner seats
red like blood
and smooth from late night
yawns and tears
where waitresses with
crooked name tags
and broken pencils
sketch out names of meals
on green curled pads
of paper
while outside smokers pass
and dogs sniff
as a guitar
drips salt air notes
of jazz
onto Divisadero Street.








Her message encouraged
tears from hiding, like light
exposing corners; no emotion
remains uncovered.

She walked a line through resistance.
The eyes and hands of judging formed
a receiving line of welcome;
she was the start of change.

I like her push and the step of her feet;
a strong river flows from her songs.
Slender fingers lift into the flesh of
stars, circling the lipstick of her calling,
high above in a heaven of clouds
that know her.








His voice called back the past.
A rain of words formed forests of sound.
Golden wheat heads bend under stars
when breathing his name.

Soft pearl skin yields its moon silver
to his swimming hands. Moist lips
rise from oceans, surfacing to
the life saving he offers.

Paper hearts fold like leaves of
people dropping. Secrets spill
from autumnal hearts, circling in
the corners of half dreaming eyes.

Without getting wet,
the thirst remains unquenched.








This ground is mine.
I sweat it into growing.
My eyes water the sound
while my hands grasp
the dirt,
holding its generations
of dust and stone
with a blending of blood
curing the colors
making it good and right
with sweet aroma
passing through my hair
rich with oils
thick with black,
the standard of then
and the fuel of now
as my tongue licks at fire
I breathe a river,
filling my veins
with grit and sand
and the run off of man
hot and speaking
and smacking life
into ears that hear
that this place is my
my altar, my place of rest,
the jazz I see
and the jazz I own.






The dark half sleeps off
the light.
Rising voices blanket
shared shadows,
whispering desperately,
but not wanting out.

Eye fires lift up
visionary smoke.
Burnt offerings flush
out dreams into gutters
where fallen stars
and yesterdays words
cling to a watery fear
of loss.

A guitar pushes
a change of jazz
into hungry air
where it greedily
breathes over
the rim of the






He forced up shadows, chasing them
to the surface, where scars from
battles bleed out the loss and the gained;
burning voices
whispered from the dust.

He holds the jazz. The birth of the pain
pushes up his sound, rising above the soup of
faces, the sidewalks of hats and the rooms
crowded with his name.

Scarlet lips dash the hope of escape. A forest
of eyes pull at his roots; moist palms
water the night while he kills off his past.






From a sweat
he bled poison,
a color of dark,
staining the shirt of
his skin.
There was a howl,
a man breaking his chain
and fingernails clawing
past empty plates
of promises and oaths failed
from empty breaths.
He sees
the horizon in
his jazz,
a wide space pressing down
with a hand
on the throat
of words and feet,
on roads and in places
where the curtains of eyes
pull down on the
justice of promise
and the songs passed down.
He sets ablaze
a cruel air,
torching out the truth
into ashes
for the children
to walk over and through
holding accountable
the promise,
reviving it,
slapping alive
the changes
into forward.






He brought a voice to stage,
stripping layers from pearls and
warming drinks.

The jazz was satin, a cool cloth of
southern dust; early morning fields
hold his sweat.

Overshadowed oaks bow righteously
as angels applaud his gift
on Canal Street.

He is the bridge, a passage into waters
where currents pull at colors,
scrubbing strong the surface of hate.

Open streets light his way
into change, as he settles in
at the front.

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2 comments on “Poetry by Roger Singer”

  1. Roger has a feel for Jazz–the sound, the music, tempo and jargon. Each of his poems grind out the message in resounding tones. If he is not a Jazz aficionado (which I suspect he is), he has a knack for extracting the marrow from the music he hears!

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Hans Christian Hagedorn, professor for German and Comparative Literature at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Ciudad Real (Spain) reveals the remarkable presence of Miguel de Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote in the history of jazz.

Short Fiction

Dmitry Rozhkov, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
“A Skull on the Moscow Leningrad Sleeper” – a short story by Robert Kibble...A story revolving around a jazz record which means so much to a couple that they risk being discovered while attempting to escape the Soviet Union

Book Excerpt

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

Short Fiction

photo via Appletreeauction.com
“Streamline Moderne” – a short story by Amadea Tanner

Publisher’s Notes

“C’est Si Bon” – at trip's end, a D-Day experience, and an abundance of gratitude


photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
A Charlie Parker Poetry Collection...Nine poets, nine poems on the leading figure in the development of bebop…

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


Photo of Stanley Crouch by Michael Jackson
Interview with Glenn Mott, editor of Victory is Assured: The Uncollected Writings of Stanley Crouch (photo of Stanley Crouch by Michael Jackson)


photo of Sonny Rollins by Brian McMillen
Interview with Aidan Levy, author of Saxophone Colossus: The Life and Music of Sonny Rollins...The author discusses his book about the iconic tenor saxophonist who is one of the greatest jazz improvisers of all time – a lasting link to the golden age of jazz


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


© Veryl Oakland
John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana are featured in this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book, Jazz in Available Light

Coming Soon

An interview with Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song; A new collection of jazz poetry; 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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