Poetry reflecting the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season — Vol. 1

June 18th, 2020

.

.

 

I recently extended an invitation to poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season.  

What follows are some of those submitted.  More will appear in the future.

-Joe Maita/Editor and Publisher

.

.

_____

.

.

 

 

“Mood Indigo,” by Matthew Hinds (May, 2020)

.

.

.

 

.

 

 

The Medieval Times

 

It is darker than I have ever known,
No light in street, window, or home.
All hopes for peace lie in ruins.
It is darker than I have ever known.
Grendel looms and not alone
His teeth munch on bloody bones.
It is darker than I have ever known,
No light in street, window, or home.

……………………….First published in .Rattle, Summer 2003

.

By Michael L. Newell

.

___

.

 

Rust Belt
……………for Bruce Weigl

My appendix burst in a car
like a paper bag and I saw Jesus in 1966
outside of Wheeling
I ate cereal and water by the side of the road
there was no milk
but a war
and the country was dying
like a drunk in Las Vegas
not even looking as it pissed all over
its shoes
Ornette was on a cassette tape
you remember those
that’s who I was thinking of today
and Charlie
when the virus came on little cat feet

.

By John Stupp

.

___

.

 

 

Listening To Brad Mehldau Under Quarantine

he makes me forget about the week
from hell
reminding me that
art can be
an oasis in a storm
he takes  anarchy like radiohead
and turns it into an
olive branch
he shows me
we can live together as
brothers
he bends over the keyboard
in a  bill evans
pose
and turns turbulence into
a thing of beauty

he is a magician with black and
white keys
creating brotherhood…

.
By Erren Kelly, 6’2’20

 

.

___

.

Alleged Choke Hold..NYC.2014
……………………………………(I can’t breathe)

that’s what they called it
the news caster said it
he said the police called it that
it was an alleged Choke Hold

my lying eyes saw the video
and I heard the guy
say
“I can’t breathe”       “I can’t breathe”
“I can’t breathe”
………3 times………… he said it 3 times

that’s what they called it
the news caster said it
he said the police called it that
it was an alleged choke hold

but he was BLACK     he was BIG
so therefore  . etc……
they didn’t. couldn’t. hear him when he said .“I can’t breathe”
they were applying an alleged choke hold

that’s what they called it
the news caster said it
he said the police called it that

.

By Oliver Lake

.

___

.

No Curfews On Words

When there are so many empty streets that you are loath to roam alone,
and so many populated homes whose doors are closed,
shunning friends, colleagues and dogs,
you do not need to feel empty or forlorn.
If you are afraid that your own voice will betray you
with its emotional turmoil,
then do not call.
You can write without invoking the Muse,
who is probably wearing a mask and gloves too.

There are no curfews on words.
They are immune to every type of virus and germ.
They need no armor in their combats with foes.
They defeat woes.

When you have run out of ink, use your keyboard.
Your message in an instant can navigate the world,
creating bridges, with no portcullises or moats,
between you and the human globe.

Do not let words in your brain boil,
initiating a fever that your thermometer misconstrues.
Air your views.
The coolness would seep into your nerves like a zephyr
blown from the mouth of Aeolus.

Words can placate the anger of a child
who no longer has access to his playground or favorite lawn,
a few tales from Hans Christian Andersen’s lore,
but if you would rather not quote,
write your own shorts.

With words, you can commune with saints and gods,
with spirits across the threshold,
with the Celtic twilight that Yeats extolled,
with ancestral souls,
with sons and daughters.

.

…………………….originally published in New English Review (June 2020)

.

By Susie Gharib

.

___

.

Elegy For George Floyd

It’s strange that a man should be arrested and then killed merely on suspicion that he’s using a $20 counterfeit bill. Forget that apparently a black man’s life isn’t worth more than $20.00 in the eyes of America! The world is filled with counterfeits that serve as currency toward more profitable ends. Eastern Colleges that banked on black labor to enhance its coffers and those of its student body. Southern states who used counterfeit currency in the form of slaves to serve the welfare of plantation owners; or the cheap labor amassed through the African workforce in the South, even after the Emancipation Proclamation; counterfeit education in minority enclaves and the rest of the disenfranchised concentrated in under served cities so the rest of us can cash in on racial inequities; the blank check accorded our black fighting men who risked their lives so we could live freely.  The counterfeit gold medal that the great Muhammad Ali got from the Olympics that couldn’t barter a seat in an all-white restaurant. The counterfeit court trials allotted white serial killers accorded a jury of their peers that merit them a lifetime of prison food, while black men get a summary sentence of death handed down by policemen for selling cigarettes on the street. The counterfeit sympathy of otherwise clueless people like me and many in my generation who bewailed the violence going on in the South in the 50’s and marched only to the newspaper stand to read about it.  The world is filled with counterfeit. What it needs is empathy and men of character with real currency who can finance change with political acumen.

.

By Frank de Canio

.

___

.

Not Tonight, In Memory Of Laquan Mc Donald

See me and Charley was smoking weed
drinking, you know that cheap shit you get
at Sam’s LIQ, we was talking bullshit,
took a hit on the pipe, time to go, getting
late, but my stomach talking to me
maybe grab myself a burger except I ain’t
making no sense, I pull out my knife, cause
I’m fucked up, don’t know what I’m doing
Pretty lady behind the counter say
she gonna call the police unless I get
the hell out of there, I’m out
I hear ‘em coming, whole bunch of
em just for me, hollering shouting
I see guns, I just want to get the fuck home
I know Mama got something on the stove
Down the middle of the street, staggering
still got that damn knife in my hand
HALT!, no, I’m going home, no jail
tonight, not for me
STOP NIGGER! Put your knife down
Glued to my hand, can’t let go
CRACK, CRACK, CRACK, CRACK
RAT-TAT, TA- TAT
16 hot pops to my back
I’m not going home, not tonight
.

By Aurora M. Lewis

.

___

.

Singing In The Shower

Sometimes I recognize that you will forget me,
that we will forget all of this, and that all of this
will forget us, that we ever inhabited this space.

But these days, I find that when I’m not thinking
about the present or the past, I’m often thinking,
“Don’t think that—just please don’t think that.”

I slice open my middle finger while chopping up
vegetables for dinner. Maybe it was an accident.
Maybe I wanted some outward display of what’s
inside me. Maybe it’s a little “fuck you” to myself.

It just feels like I’ve been so damn malleable lately.

I call up my mother to let her know I’m not “dead
on the side of the road,” as she seems to like to say.
She tries to comfort me by saying she thinks we’ve
avoided something worse, something like a civil war.
She means well, but it’s not much of a comfort to me.

But I think about D.H. Lawrence, how he said that we
have “to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
I put on John Coltrane records until I’ve run through
all my John Coltrane records, then start back at the top.
And that seems to do some damage. It seems to tame
the beast a little. I think I’m good to step outside and
confront the world. I’m getting ready and I’m singing.

.

By Scott Silsbe

.

___

.

We Have Been Briefed
…………………………….(found poetry)

They have very little people
that take this drug for malaria.
You know, you go to major hospitals,
sometimes they have two ventilators.
Some of these people who are dying—
they’re gonna die.
Maybe that’s correct, maybe it’s false.

You know, we just had another sock rocket—
you saw that, right? We have a thing
called the Constitution, which I cherish.
I could cause panic much better than even you.
Did you know I was number one on Facebook?

I’m a cheerleader for this country;
the president of the United States calls the shots.
Did I hold a rally? I’m sorry. I hold a rally.
Did I hold a rally?
I don’t take responsibility at all.

Supposing you brought the light inside the body.
And then I see the disinfectant…something
like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning.
You’re going to have to use medical doctors.
Maybe you can, maybe you can’t;
I hope people enjoy the sun.

When you test, you find something is wrong with people.
If we didn’t do any testing,
we would have very few cases.
Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready?
I’m just here to present talent;
people don’t want money.

.

By Diane Elayne Dees

.

___

.

Statues Of Limitations

The miniature statue
Of St. Francis
Holds court over the small garden
He is patron saint of

Arm raised in praise and blessing
For all the flowers
And creatures
He embraces with Peace

Meanwhile, in Boston
Christopher Columbus has lost his head
And, in Richmond
He has been tossed into the river

While the fate
Of Robert E. Lee
Is a bone of contention
In the renewed Civil War

.

By Jim Mello, 6/11/20

.

___

.

Soliloquy And Song At The Bathroom Mirror     

Don’t mind what is coming for a moment—
maybe the end of days, the end of you, a cold
gray dawn, the lawn all soaked with morning dew
while distant cities named for saints, and others too,
are burning, one by one and two by two as you peer
into the steam upon the glass, and marvel at the ass
you have become, the sum of things you’ve learned
minus those you’ve failed to grasp. There’s not much
left once that’s subtracted. But in your defense, half
the words have been redacted, so just for a moment,
don’t mind what is coming as you serenade the misty
looking-glass so softly with a little folk tune that you
have never even cared much for,The Foggy Dew.

.

By Joel Glickman, 6/11/2020

.

___

.

 

St. John’s Church Lafayette Park June 1, 2020  

Staring stunned motionless
I gape at the televised universes
both within and outside of me,

I contemplate the sting of
Anguish that tear gas delivers
to children’s children gathered

and since nature abhors vacuum
the emptied space draws the vacuous
perpetrator the toothless old dictator

this poseur hoisting someone else’s decalogue
nevertheless somehow he correctly identifies it
as “a bible” which prop to him suffices

after all he is performing once again
on television holding a sacred book before a
hallowed church in a lately teeming place

here emptied by him who dominates any
untamed spaces in the manner which disgraces
his own senseless carcass and his failing nation.

Yes certainly we will be unleashed from
the fatted golden calf
by death our own or from his leaving the world
while children our own and his are begging us

for food in forms of gentleness and meaning
when home where the heart is said to be may for all be
missing as our nation fails its singular mission.

Home and hearth, quaint concepts where
lessons once learned have been forgotten
where the only legacy easily  may be
the one decreed in idiocy.

.

By Ed Coletti

.

___

.

A Swedish Midsummer 2020

Geography the usual;
The place on planet just the same;
The night light full till after midnight,
Daylight’s dawn at one or two
With so few hours in between.

This year then,
A little different.
Last year when
A crowd would meet
To dance and sing and drink and eat
On park or lawn or balconies,
Families and friends to hoopla til a dark
Which almost never comes
Makes the ending for them.

This a deviating year;
Debating and departing from
The customary dancing, prancing,
History may chronicle as Distancing,
Fiascos, blunders, six-feet-unders.
Romance from six feet of space

This midsummer in the North
Coming forth with likenesses
Has, by the laws of nature
Put the  emphasis on differences
Which we, survivors as a race
Will surely neutralize and chase away
One future day.

.

By Arlene Corwin, 6/15/2020

.

___

.

On One Day At A Time

in these troubled times

and false spring

after seventy

but also before

those older years

try and find

on one day at a time

find something in each day

you will enjoy doing

something good and interesting

you absolutely love to do

on every

single

day

.

By Alan Yount

 .

Postscript:  written on June 6, 2020
seventy third birthday,
with hope of strength and peace
in these times.

.

.

_____

.

..

The artist Matthew Hinds comments about his work during this time:
.

“To be a jazz artist in America is a risk to begin with and then came Covid 19. The pandemic has not only put the future of live jazz into question, but  has claimed the lives of so many musicians so far, Ellis Marsalis,  Wallace Roney, Henry Grimes, Guissepe Logan and Lee Konitz. The disproportionate  number of African-Americans who have died from the virus, moreover, speaks of the structural racism of the country that Black Lives Matter is seeking to redress. On a more personal note, my sorrow only grew after the stark contrast of the joy I experienced from being lucky enough to attend the William Parker and Marshall Allen’s Sun Ra Arkestra concert at Town Hall, the last great jazz show in NYC before the walls came tumbling down, what now feels like a century ago.”

.

Matthew Fallon Hinds received his PhD. at the London School of Economics in the field of International History. He has worked as a lecturer and academic in the US and Europe. His most recent written work can be found in the newly released edited Volume, Geopolitical Amnesia: The Rise of. the. Right and the Crisis of Liberal Memory,  published by McGill University Press. He lives with his wife and two children,  a stone’s throw away from the Williamsburg Bridge where Sonny Rollins honed his craft all those years ago.

.

.

___

.

.

 

Michael L. Newell’s newest books are Wandering and Each Step a Discovery.  They can be found online at Amazon, cyberwit.com, and Barnes and Noble.  Newell lives on the Florida coast.

.

.

___

.

.

 

John Stupp’s third poetry collection Pawleys Island was published in 2017. His manuscript Summer Job won the 2017 Cathy Smith Bowers Poetry Prize and was published in August 2018. A chapbook entitled When Billy Conn Fought Fritzie Zivic was published by Red Flag Poetry in January, 2020. (From 1975-1985 he worked professionally as a mediocre jazz guitarist). He lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and can be reached via email at [email protected].

 

 

.

.

___

.

.

 

Erren Kelly is a two-time Pushcart nominated poet from Boston whose work has appeared in 300 publications (print and online), including Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine, Ceremony, Cacti Fur, Bitterzoet, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, .and .Poetry Salzburg.

 

.

.

___

.

.

photo by Charles Martin

photo by Charles Martin

Oliver Lake is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and bandleader who in 1977 founded the World Saxophone Quartet.  He has performed on more than 80 albums.  In addition to his musical endeavors, Oliver is also an accomplished poet, painter and performance artist. He has published two books of poetry, and has exhibited and sold his artwork internationally. 

Click here to visit his website 

.

.

___

.

.

Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. in English on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Mad Swirl, Down in the Dirt, The Ink Pantry, Impspired Magazine, A New Ulster, Westward Quarterly, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, The Opiate, Penwood review, Crossways, Amethyst Review, Synchronized Chaos, Pinyon Review, Leaves of Ink, Peacock Journal, The Blotter, and many others.

.

.

___

.

.

Born and bred in New Jersey, Frank De Canio works in New York. He enjoys music from Bach to Amy Winehouse, World Music, Latin, Opera. Shakespeare is his consolation, writing his hobby. He likes Dylan Thomas, Keats, Wallace Stevens, Frost , Ginsberg, and Sylvia Plath as poets.

.

.

___

.

.

 

 

.

Aurora M. Lewis.is a retiree having worked in finance for 40 years. In her fifties, she received a Certificate in Creative Writing-General Studies, with Honors from UCLA. Aurora’s recent poems, short stories, and nonfiction have been accepted by The Literary Hatchet, Jerry Jazz Musician, The Blue Nib, Trembling in Fear, Jitter Press, Scary Snippets, Copperfield Review to name only a few.

.

.

___

.

.

 

Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit. He now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems
have appeared in numerous periodicals and have been collected in the
three books: .Unattended Fire, .The River Underneath the City, and
Muskrat Friday Dinner. He is also an assistant editor at Low Ghost Press.

 

.

___

.

.

 

Diane Elayne Dees’s poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, has two poetry chapbooks forthcoming. Her author site is Diane Elayne Dees: Poet and Writer-at-Large, and she also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.

.

.

___

,

.p

photo by Alice Mello

 

Jim Mello is a counselor and clinical supervisor in the substance use disorder field. He’s also a part time clergy person, and has taught in the University of Maine system as an adjunct professor. Besides People, .his passion is music and he.became a poet by default. He has three books published, two by Moon Pie Press, and one self-published. 

.

.

___

.

.

 

.

Joel Glickman taught music including jazz history and the jazz band at Northland College, Ashland Wisconsin, from 1974 until retirement in 2017, where he has resumed teaching about jazz again, part time. He has written and published poetry over a wide range of subjects. Primarily a classical clarinetist and folk singer-song writer and banjo player, his jazz and saxophone skills lag behind these. He resides in Ashland with wife Susan and their Bichon, Madeline.

He can be reached via email at [email protected]

.

.

 

___

.

.

Ed Coletti is a poet widely published internationally and he curates the popular blog “No Money In Poetry.”  His most recent book Appollo Blue’s Harp and the Gods of Song is available at amazon.com or from the author at edjcolettiATgmail.com.  Additionally, Ed is a painter. middling chess player, and harmonica player. He lives with his wife Joyce in Santa Rosa, California.

 

.

.

___

.

.

 

 

Arlene Corwin…Brooklyn born. Age 85. Harpist, pianist, singer. High School of Music & Art. Hofstra Univ. BA. 2 films (lead in one, composer in the other — see IMDb) original lead in “The Nervous Set, introducing “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”. 19 published poetry books, yogin since the age of 20-something. Lives in Sweden. Jazz musician forever. Mother owned jazz club, The Turf with Slim Gaillard in the 50’s, Hempstead, Long Island. (See.Arlene Corwin. Poetry.com .for longer version.). See Youtube for Arlene and some good tunes.

.

.

___

.

.

Alan Yount, 73, has published poetry for over 50 years. His poems have appeared in WestWard Quarterly (featured poet for summer, 2018). Big Scream, Spring: the Journal of the E.E. Cummings Society, and Waterways.

He has been in three anthologies: Passionate Hearts, Sunflowers.and Locomotives: Songs for Allen Ginsburg. Alan was one of 31 poets, along with Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Also Chrysalis Reader.

Alan plays trumpet and has led his own dance band.

.

.

Click here to read Volume 2 of “Poetry reflecting the era of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season”

Click here to read “A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Spring, 2020 edition 

Click here for information about how to submit work for consideration

..

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this:

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

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.

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