Thursday, September 12, 2013

Meeting John Lee Hooker...

On a cool Paris evening improvisational blues fills the air    
clouds of smoke linger, filling the basement night club
A crowd gathers, dampered voices float up to the wet sidewalk 
reflecting wavy reds, greens, yellow lamp light

He had sought the louder acoustical guitar 
after performing on Beale St...
drifted to Detroit where he joined up with piano 
Son of a sharecropperhis popularity grew quickly 
Live jazz in clubs crossed over then,                                                                     
from the heart of black and Latin entertainment
to what they called rock fusion 
But his style was 'talking blues'...
Then to white audiences, along with Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, 
Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones; he
even gave an early opportunity to the young Bob Dylan

I saw him when he was much older -
seated on a stool in an old watering hole
downtown, back to back with Fats Waller's
"Ain't Misbehavin"' and "Your Feets too Big"
Shuffling chairs to find a seat, we found a table
and sat close to him, his knee almost touching mine
Lips to the microphone, brow glistening with sweat
his eyes met mine and he winked at me 
His live show had a casual, rambling feeling
All who knew his songs moaned "Ahh- huh", "Yesir",
rocked their heads, tapped their toes, waved their hands....
bodies swayed to the beat
His music was also called the"front porch blues",
some were Boogie Woogie, others rock blues or Delta jazz

Music historians can easily place the time and
influences surrounding jazz from around the globe..
All I know is.... I know what I like when I hear it!
Antonio Jobim's genre of Bossa Nova 
 "The Girl from Ipanema"-
the smooth alto or tenor sax blended with deep bass;
there's a long list of names, each had their own style
Add an African or Cuban beat to kick it up a notch
Billie Holiday had it down..
I dislike loud crazy, to me nonsensical Jazz Funk
or leaps taken by fresh new groups I do not have an ear for - 
But with a cigar in his left hand, he talked right to me
..told me to "chill" (and chillen meant children) and "be cool",
my man wasn't going to do me no wrong
,.. long as I is good to him
"Blues before Sunrise" hit home for me

I was a little girl on his stoop that night -
 listening to my papa sing....
'bout slavery and the putting down of his family, 
lousy pay, how the summer heat won't let up...
Mama in her apron hummed right along
I knew him from a long time ago it seemed.. 
,,,and I just came by to say "hello"
Our souls took a ride through time and place that night
with folk who understand...enveloped by
music oh, so mellow

Gay at prompts us to write 'Jazz Poetry'...anything pertaining to it or even our own composition of a song or the mood it puts one into when listening.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sounds (rumors) of immortality...

The root record of the word is Greek, siphonia; 
pipe, or concord of sound,  carrying it's beginning 
 possibly from a wind instrument
'Sounding together';  it evolved into "symphony",
interchangeable with concert, orchestra, sonata or 
overture  - but not synonymous
Movement forms can be slow, fast or more like a  minuet (in the middle); 
I've numbered many of my ensembles, like Beethoven, his 5th;  
created symphonies within larger symphonies bearing witness to diversity, 
but always with love
All written from life's experiences, not without disharmony, but forever
recorded in illusive time, an idea only perhaps?
Some are composed as longer, larger performances 
with many instruments; 
others are smaller as in a band playing or choral group
In it's entirety a story told, in an operatic indulgence of pain, 
but with such a sweet indescribable voluminous 
overflowing refrain
The direction is crucial to finding meaning, 
even when the baton wavers uncontrollably; 
the richness and body of it can bring bountiful rewards unseen
Written intentionally with immense passion, 
drums beat to only your heart's desire..
Glimpse in the mirror at yourself, at your tuxedo tails or 
opera ball gown - 
at the disguise - this is not our natural state
As Mary Oliver well penned in her poem, 
each life is a  wonder,
we are all connected yet all individual flowers and we
create everything else there is....
the music is amazing -
it's idea implies immortality 
Imagine earth's hum in space and to what ear?
My score began in innocuous adagio form, then it  crescendoed 
into a trio of loves and lives divided  
The middle is made a rondo with whirls and twists, tango and ballet; 
it's highest pitch reached in a long intermezzo not unlike Mahler's 
raging exhausting opus
The rest is a long waltz with Haydn and silent applause;
black notes with their half wings soar into space, colliding, expanding into
the universe with the utmost immense joy, yet melancholy; 
at times unbearable lamenting,  yet is born of unbreakable chords 
It goes on and on, doesn't end anywhere, and spirals into infinity, 
carried by elegant fractal bands of protective love, 
taking me home,
 which is our natural state

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I remember summer '63...

I remember the summer when
all they played was "Sukiaki"
 over Portland's  KISN
radio  91.3
Age 15, I lay down a towel
on the hot cement to sunbathe
only to bring to the surface
more freckles on my arms and face
Looking over the river to
another bigger little town
freighters made their way East and West
we, unaware of lives aboard 
No concept of "What Was Going 
On", as Marvin sung out his song
Protected we were from it all,
we had idealistic dreams
Rock 'n Roll and hot summer sun
"Don't worry, there are no regimes"
they said but we did anyway
I remember when "Teen Angel,
Can You Hear Me?" made us all cry,
haunting us as we wondered "Why?"
School on Monday seemed a long spell
from Saturday's four o'clock show
TV's dancing with Dick's "Band Stand"
The years all run together now
 From 1955, Brothers
Righteous and "Unchained Melody"
to "Ba Ba Ba - Ba Barbara Ann"
 don't forget that "Old Moon Bilbao"
"A Summer Place" and "Mack the Knife"
"Sugar Shack" and "Be My Baby"
I remember the music well,
just yesterday we were crazy

For today Karen from manicddaily  invites us to write about
 "remembering' in "Try to Remember" (by 
The Brothers Four).  I quickly wrote this.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lilac tree, very pretty...

Sit awhile in my lofty arms,
morning sun warms my velveteen chair 
Tiny faces debuting yawn -
From violet to thistle to eggplant to plum,
lacy blossoms flounce ruffled skirts,
hang from my branches nicely turned
Hummingbirds dash by your cheek blush rose,
seek out my romantic fragrance to drown in
Bees kick up pollen powder for 
your shiny pug nose 
Seasonal rains nourish me; 
stout leaves serve as suitable aircraft, 
exchanging seeds with other corner gardens
Swallows return to see petals 
falling to the ground below, 
providing soft landing for angels arriving on whispers
So place my blooms in a vase...
or in your auburn hair with a bow  

Fellow writer Samuel Peralta told us about ancient poetic riddles today....we are writing our own either 
in the old or the newer way! for  I wrote about being a lilac tree...