Poetry by Susan Dale

August 22nd, 2006

____________________________

 

 

Nancy Wilson

Guess who I saw today

The last one left

To sing the scales from butterscotch tease

To the willows that wept

A slippery taunt, toffee sweet

A palette in verse

That black satin doll

Fancy Miss Nancy

 

Rhythms Of Life

The ferment of storm to seas
The seas’ mad tides
Our savage hearts to spawn
In the wild shoals of swollen rivers
Druid fires – spiraling discs
Raspy winds and blind/blue passions
Connections of time to stars
Of time to an avalanche
Shouts of wind
Drumbeats, flames, vapors rising
To the bright feet of the sun
Stampeding over our languid afternoons
The torrential songs of spring’s rebirth
Hands of alleluias – songs of alleluias
Bringing forth the rhythms of life
Shrieking, shouting, whistling,
Wailing, weeping
Howling, hailing, clapping, cursing
Mourning, raging, stomping, stamping
Keening with pain-to-the-bones acceptance

Rhythms that weave us in and out,
Among the tatters and tangles we trawl through
And trample over
To get to our days
Unraveling in the shadows of sundown
Revived in our dawns of alleluias
Galloping to glory
To our fervors

Beating the air with frantic wings
With restless wings
Beaming our beings
To the rhythms of life
The wings that shear through clouds
Through métiers of moonlight
Down a milky-way path
To step us onto the staircase
That spirals us to the stars

 

 

 

 

Billie

 

A deep savannah of velvet triumphs, Lady Day
Hiding in your ashes before dawn
Drowning in sad-soul rivers

In secret tunnels filled with night eyes
Were your roots planted
To dazzle your way
Through hazes of hideaway days

You carried the ferocity of strange fruit
To the healing bitterness of smoky niteries

In the dark you closed your windows to rain crying
But your soul picked clean anyway
By hawk-pimps that slithered in
With black shadows of night

Your songs scarred by white powders of pain

Upright, with regal grace
Gardenias that bled in your hair
And in your face a far-away look
Of borrowed time

What in your life, Billie, lives in hiding
Inside your furs
From the cold and the needle tracks?
How many hours did you listen for a lullaby
Or for compassion left by the side of a road?

Your songs soft as pearl light
Of aureoles murmuring through
Fronds of weeping willow trees

Imprints of pain piercing the dark

In hot-tub waters soaking off addictions
The liquid measure of your songs
Woman song___ spreading, teasing, cajoling

The weight of substance with the gentleness of feathers
The child that got his own and spent it, Lady Day

 

 

 

 

Requiem For the Music

 

Jazz was the first to go
Left as mysteriously as it came
Dark as night, soft as cotton
Slipping through the gray moss
Of the venerable old oaks that lined
The path where jazz was last heard
To be replaced with, and bleached out By Caucasian white-paste glib
Smooth and sliding over the notes
That once traveled from soul to mouth
To trumpet, to sax, to harmonica
To sing to our hearts

From soul to fingers, to piano,
To drums, to bass, to guitar
It was only, for god’s sake
The very crux of their beings
They gave us to be replaced by
The electronics that brushed away
The human imput, mixed as the music was,
Dubbed and dabbed at,
Voiced over … loops and digital
Slick tricks on recorders
Glibly sliding over the graves
Of Holiday, Armstrong, Coltrane, Ella and Miles.

Folk music? Last heard in Frisco
But left on a bell-ringing trolley
Down star-spangled hills
We followed behind in cable cars
Trying to catch up
But the music disappered in the fog That covered The Golden Gate
Back we went, lost as we were
To Haight Ashbury
But all that remained in the coffee shops
Were the echoes of notes
Once booming big with the protests
Of segregation and the Vietnam war

Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary
Were blowing in the wind
Crosby, Stills and Nash
Last seen in O-H-I-O
Arlo Gutherie caught the train
They call the City of New Orleans
And Credence Clearwater, with all the Subtlety of a locomotive coming down the tracks,
Claimed he was no fortunate son.
Simon? Last seen on the bridge of Troubled waters, where he saw the Music going down for the third time
Gone is that cagey Wolfman Jack
Who played love songs for your sweetheart
Because you loved your sweetheart,
And Wolfman loved the music.
Wolfman?
He was bought by a radio station
That merged until it got to the Giantic size that required a thousand dollars a song to be paid
For requests on CD’s that cost
ten thousand dollars to make
CD’s owned by the record companies
That merged with TV Stations
Featuring only those under their contracts
TV stations merged with the newspapers That owned the movie companies
That never loved the movies
And didn’t love the music
But loved only the money that forged
And formatted the pop music
Which was the last to leave

 

 

 

 

Miles

 

Angry young lion with tawny mane
And your fierce eyes of rain that fell with swords
Your notes to gallop across continents
Stone bones and trumpet tongue
Lapping up lights
A pinnacle of the higest notes
And a hard, harsh night hushed
When your notes tripped down a path of whispers
Pensive sorrows; dark enigmas of heroin veins
Nostrils of cocaine, and an avalanche of notes
Painting funny valentines
Notes to penetrate our sleepy silences
Your roots of steel trawling through frenzied screams
And serpent’s dreams
From piercing eyes sewn with anger
Thread of tears, notes galloping to glory
Your profound pauses when time stood still
And you ravished the air with primal yearnings
And primeval howls
You tiptoed up a spiral staircase
To Stella by starlight
The tremor of far-away thunder
The golden pollen of your notes
Pulsating, pulsing, hanging in the air
Glowing soft as yesterdays
Pauses to dream in
The lightening of your life
The silences you came up on and shattered
You, the fierce dragon that ravaged kingdoms
With your foamy crescendos
At the far edges of far out
The hard lights, the diffused lights
And your shattered dreams
You, the sleek cat that blew torrential storms
And nobody, but nobody gonna’ pull your strings
You, the falcon prince of bleating notes, Miles

 

Share this:

2 comments on “Poetry by Susan Dale”

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

photo via RawPixel
"23 Poets remember their father…"

This space on Sunday is generally reserved for a single poet to read one of their works, but this week’s issue -Father’s Day – features 23 poets who weigh in on the complexity of their relationship with their father, revealing love, warmth, regret, sorrow – and in many cases a strong connection to a common love of music.

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

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.

Interview

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.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Emily Jon Tobias’ MONARCH: Stories, and a reflection on our friendship

Art

photo of Archie Shepp by Giovanni Piesco
The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Archie Shepp...photos of the legendary saxophonist (and his rhythm section for the evening), taken at Amsterdam's Bimhuis on May 13, 2001.

Poetry

The cover to Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira [Asylum]; photo by Norman Seeff
“Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada” – a poem (for Joni Mitchell) by Juan Mobili

Click here to read more poetry published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Calling All Poets!

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

Short Fiction

pickpik.com
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

Interview

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?”

Playlist

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.

Feature

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

Poetry

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?

Community

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