The Sunday Poem: “A Mountain Pass (In memory of Joe Pass)” by Bhuwan Thapaliya

April 27th, 2024

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The Sunday Poem  is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work.

Bhuwan Thapaliya reads his poem at its conclusion

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Tom Marcello Webster, New York, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tom Marcello Webster, New York, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Joe Pass, 1975

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A Mountain Pass
…..(In memory of Joe Pass)

A woman sits in a window frame
of old carved birds, listening to her
grandson in his jeans playing fig leaf music
in her home in Koshidekha,
a village in Nepal.

His music reminded her
of those lovely spring evenings
hopping the jazz clubs in New Orleans
with her late husband,
a Jazz fan like her,
and a handsome Air Force pilot
with short hair who was killed
by friendly fire in the Gulf War.

She was nostalgic the whole day,
and that evening, she lit an incense stick
with a lighter and sat beneath
the picture of her husband
in the living room and
conversed with his soul.

When she opened her eyes,
Joe Pass was there with his
Gibson ES-175 guitar in his hands.
“Don’t be surprised. Lead me to a place
where I can play for you,” Joe said.

She was stunned but she said nothing
and then Joe smiled.
She smiled back,
and they stepped through
a narrow door
into the open room
where an enormous mural
depicted a Buddha
who sat cross-legged
atop a cloud
holding a conch shell in one hand
and a silver bowl in the other
ignited the room.

Joe smiled again and began to play
his legendary tunes.
She sobbed and coughed
and then got herself a glass of water
and then stood leaning in the window,
her back to the room, gazing out.

Through the window in the moonlight,
she saw a man with short grey hair
turn his prayer wheel as a Buddhist monk,
humming and vanishing
beneath the big banyan tree.

She turned around in excitement
but Joe was not there.
Nearby, the wooden bridge
swayed and creaked,
and a brook burbled
through a mountain pass.

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Listen to Bhuwan Thapaliya read his poem

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Nepalese poet Bhuwan Thapaliya works as an economist and is the author of four poetry collections. He is an avid jazz aficionado. His poems have been published in various international journals and anthologized in numerous books worldwide such as Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic Initiative (Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University), International Human Rights Art Festival, Poetry, and Covid: A Project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent University,  Jerry Jazz Musician among many others.
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Listen to the 1998 recording of Joe Pass performing Ray Noble’s composition “The Very Thought of You” [Universal Music Group]

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Click here to read previous editions of 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

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