Poetry by Roger Singer

May 26th, 2013





Lively notes
Buzzed with jazz
Stir the crowd
Like chipped ice
Warming close
To whiskey and lust.

Stocking thighs
Welcome fingers
Warm with rhythm
Playfully searching
For a path
Where the music
Finally delivers.

The noisy skin
Of the snare
Rattles the bones
While ivory licks
Tease the sax
To run long
Past the moon.




Swirling breezes
Push hard
With jumpy
Hurricane winds
Slapping fast
Like mosquitoes
Flying round
Sticky music
Buzzing wild
In your head
That can’t
Be trapped
Like a
You just
Can’t reach
With itchy
Fat fingers
So instead
You start
To hum
And make
A way
For the song
To dig
A hole
In your brain
To jump
Right in
Where jazz
Lives smooth.



Rising golden
And draining warm
Onto painted houses
And wooden wharfs,
Long streaks of sun
Touch Coit’s tower
And sacred hills.

Down on Fillmore
And Columbus with class,
Where jazz sits
Strong and grows,
Pulling like lines
Of hungry fish
Snapping at sourdough.

Across the
Golden arms
And from the south,
Stray cats
Slip from Monterey
With artichoke eyes
To Frisco streets.

Once fed
The food of soul
Ears return
Thirsty for beats,
Bringing fingers
And shoes to tap,
By the bay.



Under a limitless
Black sky
Where night stars
Blink bright,
A single horn
Stretches with sound.

Long breezes
Breath short
With respect
For the brassy air
Drowning in ears
Of jazzy souls.

From the altar
Of a back porch
A man presses
A righteous sound,
Bringing the moon
To its knees.

The open stillness
Of a full night
Lays flat
In stark repose,
Lacking response
To the horns voice.



Powder dusted
With gold
And perfume
Melts sweet
And mixes in
The heat of
Jazzy stew
Where feet
Speak with
Slip and slide
Like clouds
Filled with
Noisy rain
Bursting to
Run free
Like music
Flowing rich
In waves
Knocking on
The doors
Of hungry ears
And eyes
Lusting for
The thirst
Of horns
Bubbling full
And spilling
Hot onto
Wide open
Willing souls
Sweating to
That fill
To the top.



A tidal voice
Rich with waves
Like the ocean
Spreading evenly,
Forcefully recedes
Into low depths
Mixing jazz and pain.

With each breath
A sequined dress
Sparkles without stop,
Like passing stars
On velvet black,
Void of beginning,
Shinning to end.

A singing spirit
Moans and sighs
Begging the music
To use all
Of her
As she bends
A tired head
As if death won.

The band rests
Watching her like
A breathing
Throbbing train
Refueling its strength
In silent thought,
Then steams to life.

Share this:

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!

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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)

The Sunday Poem

Miles Davis "'Round About Midnight" (1957/Columbia Records)
“You Never Forget Your First” – by Brian Kates

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem


Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.


The Marvelettes/via Wikimedia Commons
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...Little is known of the lives and challenges many of the young Black women who made up the Girl Groups of the ‘60’s faced while performing during an era rife with racism, sexism, and music industry corruption. The authors discuss their book’s mission to provide the artists an opportunity to voice their experiences so crucial to the evolution of popular music.

Calling All Poets!

News about a Jerry Jazz Musician printed jazz poetry anthology, and information about submitting your poetry for consideration

Short Fiction

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #65 — “Ballad” by Lúcia Leão...The author’s award-winning story is about the power of connections – between father and child, music and art, and the past, present and future.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician


photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 – 1960...Richards makes the case that small group swing players like Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan (pictured) and Big Jay McNeely played a legitimate jazz that was a more pleasing listening experience to the Black community than the bebop of Parker, Dizzy, and Monk. It is a fascinating era, filled with major figures and events, and centered on a rigorous debate that continues to this day – is small group swing “real jazz?”


Sonny Rollins' 1957 pianoless trio recording "Way Out West"
“The Pianoless Tradition in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...an extensive playlist built around examples of prominent pianoless modern jazz.


Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – (Vol. 1)...A substantial number of novels and stories with jazz music as a component of the story have been published over the years, and the scholar David J. Rife has written short essay/reviews of them.  In this initial edition featuring his story essays/reviews, Rife writes about three novels that explore challenges of the mother/daughter relationship.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 20: “Notes on Genius...This edition of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film is written in response to the music of Wayne Shorter.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

In Memoriam

Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Remembering Joe Pass: Versatile Jazz Guitar Virtuoso” – by Kenneth Parsons...On the 30th anniversary of the guitarist Joe Pass’ death, Kenneth Parsons reminds readers of his brilliant career

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician


painting by Vaino Kunnas
Jazz…in eight poems...A myriad of styles and experiences displayed in eight thoughtful, provocative poems…

Jazz History Quiz #172

photo of Teddy Wilson by William Gottlieb
Teddy Wilson once said this about a fellow jazz pianist:

“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.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?


photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...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…

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

Coming Soon

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.

Site Archive