Thelonious Monk…and five poems

June 24th, 2021

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“Rouse Solo,” by Martel Chapman

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All Monk, No Manifesto

taking misterioso chords
making epistrophic phrases
……………………………….Neither nutty
……………………nor as a boo boo
though some are
sometimes slightly skippy
finding Beauty in brilliant corners
from Nellie Ruby a Baroness
………………………………Pannonica
…………………..even Duke
once claiming such could be ugly
puckish ivory I suspect
…………………….tickling the mischief
see the evidence has been
and will always be
this Thelonious played it straight
with no chaser
so bye-ya
now let’s cool one

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by Terrance Underwood

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Teach Me Tonight

Ornithology
Epistrophy
Sphereology
Tautology
Permutations II
Syncretism
Anthropology
Tricotism
Woodwork, Room 608

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by Gloria Krolak

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Monk

1.
He hovers,
flesh and presence,
round the story of midnight jazz….

a single note hangs, suspended
in a cigarette-whiskey haze
as ears perk open, anticipate
the pleasure of surprise

and Monk, himself captivated,
bewitched by the infinite echoes
of infinite choices that hold
promise of what he most desires

a sound unique to the moment,
emblem of his off-beat witness.

A sound for which he’ll run the risk
of a one-way, no return trip
to irrevocable residence
in the labyrinth of his mind.

2.
The note remains aloft for ten
maybe eleven seconds before
a motive for an unheard song
makes its way out to his fingers
and summons a pregnant chord
bursting to bring forth a new riff

on a narrative first hummed
in the dark bowels of a ship
as it sailed the Middle Passage
to the American slave blocks

where blue notes inspired by tyrants
gave birth to hymns of faith and rage,
and called forth changes blown through time
from cotton fields to prison blocks

till Monk arrives at the Five Spot
on Manhattan’s Lower East Side,
to jam out a rival anthem
and tune the public ear to hear
what’s needed to keep moving
and break the remaining chains.

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…………….previously published in Notes on Hard Times (Village Books Press)

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by Paul Austin

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Lincoln Center
…………(for Mike and Catherine)

Nearly year’s end, and I return to Manhattan,
This time with my brother and his young wife
To hear Monk—All Monk—No chaser,
As late November wind chill buffets passers-by at
Columbus Circle.
Shops are gowned in holiday attire.

I wonder what Monk would say of the madness—
more mechanized than when he
Wandered the blocks near the glowing hall,
tapping rhythms for Nellie at night.
Now, a ghost of Thelonious, speaking through his son;
not lecturing the over-dressed;
the monied crowds, but simple tales of a father; a world legend.

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by Robert Milby

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Breaching Aristotle (month 4)

So what new scab
do I pick today
to open our discussion?
Month 4’s been a drag
hasn’t it? Staring at bonobos
staring back – breaching Aristotle,
bellicose and belligerent
And dragging the bygone
w/arthritic hands.
Harsh percussions
precede all methods of inquiry
And I can’t wait (to be honest)
to hear all about it.
But not today!
Today’s put aside
to hear Monk move
and give us
(in his own disturbed grace)
the inside track
on the outside joke
And how all of this came to be
(for the most part)
a world
of our own
incompetence. Fools of the realm
w/o benchmark. Primate vs. primate
rising up the ranks.

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by Mike Jurkovic

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photo by Jack Underwood

Terrance Underwood is a retired Rolls-Royce Service Engineer, veteran, College Grad (B.A. History) who has been listening to recorded jazz music since he was 5-6 yrs old. One of his first memories is listening to a 78 version of “Cherokee” by Charlie Barnett.

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photo by Michael Chovan-Dalton

Gloria Krolak is a member of vibesworkshop.com, a website where her favorite vibes players teach, share and spread the word about the unique appeal of the instrument. Gloria has served on the board of the Junior Jazz Foundation, based on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Her book, Jazz Lines, all poems built with jazz tune titles, was inspired by poet Hayden Carruth’s poem “The Fantastic Names of Jazz,” which lists jazz musicians by their nicknames, from Zoot Sims to Jelly Roll Morton. Photography is one of her favorite pastimes. She is fascinated by the close-up intricacies, patterns and vibrant colors found in nature. The author’s favorite spots are the beach and The Jazz Corner, also on Hilton Head Island, where great live jazz rings out almost every night.

Visit her website by clicking here

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Paul Austin ’s collection  Notes on Hard Times  is published by Village Books Press. His work appears in  This Land, Sugar Mule, Newport Review,  Speak Your Mind,  an anthology of Woody Guthrie Poets,  Behind the Mask: Haiku in the Time of Covid-19  and elsewhere. A longtime jazz lover and actor, Austin writes for the theatre in essays, poetry, and plays; he’s acted and directed in New York and regional theatres and acted for film and television.

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Robert Milby, of Florida, NY has been reading his poetry in public since March, 1995.  He is the author of several chapbooks, books, and CDs of poetry.  Currently, he hosts 4 Hudson Valley, NY poetry readings series, three of which are on hiatus. Milby served as Orange County, NY Poet Laureate (2017-2019) and has given over 500 featured poetry readings since 1996.  He is a listed poet with Poets & Writers, Inc. since 2005.       

www.robertmilbypoetry.com

[email protected]

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A 2016 Pushcart nominee, poetry and musical criti-cism have appeared in over 500 magazines and periodicals worldwide with little report-able income. Full lengths include: American Mental, (Luchador Press 2020) Blue Fan Whirring (Nirala Press, 2018) President, Calling All Poets, New Paltz, NY. CD reviews appear online at All About Jazz, and Lightwood, Featured poet: He was and hopes to be again the Tuesday night host of Jazz Sanctuary, WOOC 105.3 FM, Troy, NY. He loves Emily most of all.

www.mikejurkovic.com
www.callingallpoets.net

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Martel Chapman  found artistic inspiration in Francis Wolff’s cover photograph of John Coltrane’s Blue Train album, and has been creating art honoring the artistic genius of jazz music ever since.

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Listen to the 1959 recording of Thelonious Monk playing “Jackie-ing,” with Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone); That Jones (cornet); Sam Jones (bass); and Art Taylor (drums) 

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Click here to learn how to submit your poetry

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