Three jazz poets…three jazz poems

January 10th, 2024

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“Caravan” by Russell duPont

art by Russell duPont

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Lady Day And Prez

At the bar of the
Towne Tavern, once
Toronto’s finest jazz club,
stage facing me,
sipping my one beer,
knowing even then
in my twenty-third year
I was witness to
a never forgotten gig.

Lady Day, gardenia in your hair,
every note you sang
rang out with blues and
rhythm of your battered
and celebrated life.
And you Prez,
pork pie hat and sax
wandered the room
blowing sounds that
resonated into memory

I knew from all I read
that you were both
wasted from years of
booze and drugs
facing death within a year,
though you’re both alive
in my dim lit past.

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by Henry Wolstat

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Respite

I’m happy to leave the perfection
of 24-Bit sound behind
for a while, shut out the world
and those staunch words
that fit the pictures in my mind
of a friend’s annihilation
and the devastation of this void
in my life – and just take Ella
and Louis with me
into the kitchen singing Dream
a Little Dream of Me on the most
primitive of speakers, and work
on those simplest of pancakes,
the ones with the banana
and the eggs and the coconut
and the buckwheat flour blended
into one thick mass that rises
slowly on the hot skillet, turning
a familiar friendly golden
brown, and once in my mouth,
with a helping of maple syrup
and apple sauce, lends
the moment a modicum of wonder,
pluck, maybe even gentle serenity.

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by Francis Fernandes

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Warm Canto 
……….for Emily

She reminded me of you,
sitting there in front of
the coffeeshop—a bit taller,
maybe a bit older—still,
composed, a small spark
in the deep blue eyes,
gazing straight ahead
at a point somewhere between
my left shoulder and one hundred
miles away.

I hadn’t thought of you
for months but your face appeared
now, looking down, half-smiling
and slightly sideways, your eyes shy
with just a glint of élan. Suddenly
the street noise diminished.
Dolphy’s clarinet notes floated
gently above Waldron’s light-
stepped fingerings in the air
behind my head.

You slipped away abruptly,
emailing goodbye. I had
no hold on you, neither
father nor lover, but you left
a little fissure in my chest
which throbs occasionally
when I see or hear something
that reminds me of you like
now as I tried not to stare,
still hearing Waldron now
in step with Ron Carter’s
fingers plucking their way
down the cello’s neck.

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by Gregory Luce

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Listen to the 1962 recording of pianist Mal Waldron playing his composition “Warm Canto,” featuring Eric Dolphy (clarinet); Ron Carter (bass); and Charlie Persip (drums).  [Universal Music Group]

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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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Francis Fernandes grew up and studied in Montréal, Canada. Since spring 2020, his writing has appeared in over twenty literary journals, including Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Saint Katherine Review, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Third Wednesday. He lives in Frankfurt, Germany, where he writes and teaches.

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Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace, Drinking Weather, Memory and Desire, Tile, and Riffs & Improvisations, has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In addition to poetry, he writes a monthly column on the arts for Scene4 magazine. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.

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Henry Wolstat is a retired psychiatrist in his late 80’s living in the greater Boston area with his wife. He is the author of a poetry book, Driftwood, and he has also been published in printed and online anthologies. He is passionate about running, the arts, and poetry.

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Click here to read The Sunday Poem

Click here to read “A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Summer, 2023 Edition”

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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