Six poems, six poets new to Jerry Jazz Musician

February 28th, 2024

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These poems are new submissions by six poets relatively new to Jerry Jazz Musician, and are an example of the writing I have the privilege of encountering on a regular basis.

Thanks to the poets, and I hope you enjoy…

Joe Maita

Editor/Publisher

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Russell duPont

art by Russell duPont

 

 

Tubby Hayes

If I could picture the notes
floating out of Tubby Hayes’

saxophone they would be
cream buns, summer clouds

parting to let the sun shine
through, warmth to the ears.

They would be promises
shaped like ribbons of silk,

the soft brush of a lover’s
lips on ears, notes that taunt

and slide smoothly into meanings
on the upside of feeling good.

If I could feel his fingers snap
over the keys, hear the soft

breath of jazz through his sax’s
horn, see the sweat glistening

on his forehead on a spotlit
club stage. See, hear, feel,

floating through my speakers,
opening a portal into a felt life.

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by John Murphy

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Flash Flood

Between the Picasso and the pans,
warm clothes or love letters written
when weather did not point its threatened finger,
what would I take?

All that can be carried by hand,
or kept in a jean pocket.
In various keys your harmonicas
strewn on the dresser are in perfect pitch.

In disasters of heart,
is there such a thing as basic survival?

In this flash flood of fury,
I hear the bending notes of the harp
what is it that we really need—

warmth, bread, water
your shrilling high C,
the high seas of my anger–
a jazz riff,
or the breaking waves of music?

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by Laurie Kuntz

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Hop That Trane

there was a saxman
name of John
only trane worth
getting on

rode a special
glory track
took folks up to
God and back

playing fast or
playing slow
giddy hot or
cool with woe

either way things
turned out fine
reached that station
right on time

no matter if you
couldn’t pay
John would look the
other way

no railroad cop
with club or gun
seats enough
for everyone

drifters welcome
hobos too
anyone who’s
black and blue

meek and mild
down and out
that’s what this trane
was all about

now some folks say
that John is dead
I just can’t get that
through my head

it might just mean
that I’m insane
but late at night
I hear that trane

it starts real low
but then gets higher
the more that saxman
stokes the fire

building up a
head of steam
barreling toward
a love supreme

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by Thomas R. Keith

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On the Way to the Airport

It didn’t feel like we were going 80 —
Uncle Ted’s smooth driving and the A/C
on max, windows tinted to the legal limit,
and newly installed insulation dampening
the decibels of the outside world. My eyes
were open, not looking, listening only
to the Pat Metheny Group playing
“The First Circle,” a 22/8 time-signature
confounding and enthralling the whorls
of my ears. I lowered myself into the seat
and the sound:
……….Bright strings
……….syncopated
……….into softer deft acoustics
……….cymbal rolls released as rain
……….on the driving drums
……….the bass impelling
……….the voice galloping
……….as across brushland
……….hooves into puddles
……….splashes of cymbals

As the last note evaporated, I lengthened
my spine then noticed a runnel of tears
gleaming under Uncle Ted’s glasses.
“At one point,” he said, “I had to stop
listening to that song. It was too much.”
He paused, said, “Reach in the back
and grab the notebook. Go ahead
and read what’s in it.”
“It’s mostly empty,” I said.
“Yes, your Uncle Richard only wrote one entry.

Tears of my own were waking when slower
speed announced our arrival at departures.
In those three pages, Uncle Richard had written
his thoughts right after his diagnosis. I closed
the notebook and stepped out, stunned
by the sun, how it feels to exit a matinée
and rejoin the ruthless calendars and clocks.

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by Bradley Samore

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Swinging Sultry

Fast notes twirl in the heavy,
sharp, sweet air. People
blow soft whispers in cool
ears. Men bark at tipsy
caramel cats.

The sultry sax searches through
the tight room for a
pit like
soul to
fill

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by Kaitlyn Taylor

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Serenity

Round tables
Terrazzo floor
Listening angels by the stage
Sitting, swaying, dancing
Long past midnight
Redemptive notes
Bursting senses
Carouseling lead changes
Into the heavens
Jazz
No matter the key
Unlocks the soul

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by Mike Mignano

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Russell duPont is an artist and an author whose artwork is included in a number of public and private collections. He has published three novels, King & Train , Waiting for the Turk and Movin’ On, the sequel to King & Train; two books of poetry; and two non-fiction chapbooks. His essay, “The Corner,” is included in the anthology Streets of Echoes. His work has been published in various newspapers and literary magazines. He was the founder & publisher of the literary magazine, the albatross.

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Thomas R. Keith currently resides in his hometown of Austin, TX. A jazz aficionado for over two decades, he is fascinated by the complex relationship between poetry and music, a theme he often explores in his work. His poetry has appeared in Packingtown Review, Blue Unicorn, and Poetry Salzburg Review, among other publications.

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Laurie Kuntz’s books are: That Infinite Roar (Gyroscope Press); Talking Me Off The Roof (Kelsay Books); The Moon Over My Mother’s House (Finishing Line Press); Simple Gestures (Texas Review Press); Women at the Onsen (Blue Light Press); and Somewhere in the Telling (Mellen Press). Simple Gestures, won Texas Review’s Chapbook Contest, and Women at the Onsen won Blue Light Press’ Chapbook Contest. She’s been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Net Prizes. Her work has been published in Gyroscope Review, Roanoke Review, Third Wednesday, One Art, Sheila Na Gig, and other journals.

Click here to visit her website

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Mike Mignano 73, retired Ocala, FL. Hometown Ithaca, NY. Grad Ithaca H.S. (’68), Univ. of Miami (’72), Cumberland School of Law (’75). Former Army JAGC CPT (’76-’79) and Atty. Advisor Soc. Sec. Admin. (1979-2000) Interests include travel, guitar, choral singing, hymn lyric/poetry writing, sports fan, attending theatre and musical performances.

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Short bio: John Murphy is a retired lecturer living in the UK. He has published poems in numerous journals and magazines. His books are The Thing Is…(Ciaralee Books, 2009) and Home (The Lake Press, 2022). He is the editor of The Lake, an online poetry magazine.

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Bradley Samore has worked as an editor, writing consultant, English teacher, creative writing teacher, basketball coach, and family support facilitator. His writing has appeared in The Florida Review, Carve, The Dewdrop, and other publications. He is a winner of the Creative Writing Ink Poetry Prize. Click here to visit his website

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Kaitlyn Taylor was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. The South’s rich culture of storytelling – and her ever-going imagination – has influenced her decision to pursue writing. She currently studies English Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing at Jackson State University. She is also the co-founder and president of JSU’s creative writing group Jackson State Writers Alliance. Kaitlyn loves researching and exploring the depths of social, interpersonal, and human psychological conflicts and aims to further engage these topics in her writing. Her bassoon holds a special place in her heart.

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Click here to read  The Sunday Poem

Click here to read “A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Winter, 2024 Edition”

Click here to read “The Old Casino,” J.B. Marlow’s winning story in the 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Click here for information about how to submit your poetry or short fiction

Click here to subscribe to the (free) Jerry Jazz Musician quarterly newsletter

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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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“Crossing Over” by CJ Muchhala

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photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
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Sonny Rollins' 1957 pianoless trio recording "Way Out West"
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The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
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painting by Vaino Kunnas
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Click here to visit the Jazz History Quiz archive

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