Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ken Allan Dronsfield Returns!




On a frigid day like today, Ken Allan Dronsfield takes us back to autumn when cold was an enjoyable novelty!


Sleep With Dead Grass

Chilled tired bones
steamy breath follows
crispy red apples drop
oak firewood stacked,

walk the dying fields
sleep with dead grass.

Colored leaves release
spinning down to ground
unpacked winter clothes
fill dresser and closets,

walk the dying fields
asleep in dead grass.

Autumn's song plays
a freshness of spirit
feel a harvest solstice
life's circle goes round,

I walk a dying field,
sleeping in dead grass.




Lyrical Swell

Starlight stirs my coffee
the moon a soft croissant
lilac or lace win my flavor
new tidal ebb in accession
impassioned lyrical swells.
suns haze of dusty rhythm
biscuits await upon a doily
a black tea steeps alone.




With Charcoal Black

                            i
Today I'll travel to the swamp and wood
to do a little autumn sketching for my
painting projects during the cold winter.
As I pack my thermos and bag, I see
snail trails leaving the autumn garden.

                              ii
Cooler breezes beget browner grasses;
lichen and moss cover the old stone wall,
I swear a little chipmunk ran by just now.
Crows are busy in their murder covens.
The songbirds leave daily for warm skies.

                               iii
Smells of the forest still musty and damp
colored leaves fall, a winters quilt woven
Ice sheets now form in the ponds as geese
happily swim throughout coolish waters.
Frogs and turtles hibernate until spring.

                                 iv
A puff on the pipe, and a sip from the flask,
take out my sketch pad from the canvas bag.
Deer moving through the hemlock swamp.
It's time to capture, using a charcoal black,
the precious moments on this autumn day.





The Garnet's Glow

Strumming the guitar
well past midnight
the melody sounds raw
like the tips of my fingers
one more whiskey shot;
music flowing nicely
a night of reflection
with the garnet Fender.
dial the amp to low
or neighbors will bang;
drum beats on the wall,
keeping a steady beat
think I'll play Hendrix,
'all along the watchtower'
but perhaps a little Floyd,
just 'comfortably numb.'




Blues in a Harvest Moon

Humming the blues as the moon swayed;
Ella Fitzgerald moved me with "Summertime".
Echos of the great Louis Armstrong with his
magic voice sang "What a Wonderful World"
BB King serenaded while stroking "Lucille".
Those days of listening to that old AM radio
as Nat King Cole crooned us with "Stardust".
Thanks to YouTube, for indulging memories
allowing my reflection to Nights in White Satin
while enjoying the sounds of a life gone by.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a poet who was nominated for The Best of the Net and 2 Pushcart Awards for Poetry in 2016. His poetry has been published world-wide in various publications throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. His work has appeared in The Burningword Journal, Belle Reve Journal, Setu Magazine, The Literary Hatchet Magazine, The Stray Branch, Now/Then Manchester Magazine, Bewildering Stories, Scarlet Leaf Review. EMBOSS Magazine and many more. Ken loves thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, and spending time with his cat Willa. Ken's new book, "The Cellaring", a collection of haunting, paranormal, weird and wonderful poems, has been released and is available through Amazon.com. He is the co-editor of two poetry anthologies, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available from Amazon.com.



I have to start the music with Nat King Cole's version of "Autumn Leaves": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEMCeymW1Ow

Let's continue with "Concierto de Aranjuez" from Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvcU_v8ruGE

The guitarist Buckethead performs his version of a song from Sketches of Spain:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFZnAO7_Mzw

I'll finish with Ella's "Summertime" and a song by B.B. King.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XivELBdxVRM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y8QxOjuYHg

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Michael Lee Johnson Finishes Up Winter Break



During winter break, I've been able to post more frequently than I will during the semester.  Tonight I'd like to feature Michael Lee Johnson's poems.  He is the dynamo behind several of the poetry groups on Facebook, especially Contemporary Poets, Their Works, Current Poetry Projects, News Links, and related anthologies, most recently Dandelion in a Vase of Roses.  Enjoy!

Reincarnation (V2)
By Michael Lee Johnson

Next life I will be a little higher on the pecking order.
No longer a dishwasher at the House of Pancakes,
or Ricky's All Day Grill, or Sunday night small dog thief.
I will evolve into the Prince of Bullfrogs, crickets don't bother,
swamp flies don't bother me-I eat them.  Alligators I avoid.
I urinate on lily pads mate across borders, continents at will.
Someone else from India can wash my dishes locally for me.
Forward all complaints to that religious office of Indian affairs

To listen to Michael read his poem, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5Il21gIL3M

I Edit My Life (V2)


By Michael Lee Johnson




I edit my life.
Clothesline pins & clips
hang to dry
dirty laundry.
I turn poetic hedonistic
in my early 70's,
reviewing the joys
and the sorrows
of my journey.
I find myself wanting
a new review, a new product,
a new time machine,
a new internet space,
a new planet where
we small, wee creative


To listen to Michael read this poem, click on the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh5cGYOo6tI



Children in the Sky
(V2)
By Michael Lee Johnson

There is a full moon,
distant in this sky tonight,

Gray planets planted
on an aging white, face.

Children, living and dead,
love the moon with small hearts.

Those in heaven already take gold thread,
drop the moon down for us all to see.

Those alive with us, look out their
bedroom windows tonight,
we smile, then prayers, then sleep.

Click on this link to hear Michael's poem:






Lilly, Lonely Trailer Prostitute (V2)

By Michael Lee Johnson

Paint your face with cosmetic smiles.
Toss your breast around with synthetic plastic.
Don’t leak single secrets to strangers-
locked in your trailer 8 foot wide by 50 foot long
with twisted carrots, cucumbers, weak batteries,
and colorful dildos-you’ve even given them names:
Adams’s pleasure skin, big Ben on the raise, Rasputin: 
the Mad Monk-oh no, no, no.
Your legs hang with the signed signatures
of playboys and drifters ink.
The lot rent went up again this year.
Paint your face, walk the streets
again with cosmetic smiles.

Listen to Michael's poem here: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-WhbOxfNTY

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 930 small press magazines in 33 different countries or republics, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author's website http://poetryman.mysite.com/Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 134 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos  Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015 & Best of the Net 2016.  Visit his Facebook Poetry Group and join https://www.facebook.com/groups/807679459328998/  He is also the editor/publisher of anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762  A second poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, Editor Michael Lee Johnson, is now available here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089

Although we are past the feast of the Three Kings, I am sharing a Christmas present that Angelee Deodhar is sending us.  Interestingly, it is a poem about taking down the Christmas decorations.


Henri Lehmann (1814-1882 ) — The Adoration of the Magi, 1854 : The Dahesh Museum of Art, New York, NY. USA (2400×1800)

If you click on the image, it will become larger and more readable.  

YouTube has recommended the music of Kavita Shah, so I'll start here with a couple of her standards, "La Vie En Rose" and "Skylark":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSJgovzGqp4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQcfOtbsEw

I thought I had posted Freddie Hubbard's version of "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" (the song by Paul McCartney and Wings): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9QcUEQS7cw

I'll add Hubbard's "First Light":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwvxiBEPDdA

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Sorrowful Moment Resonates....Over 25 Years Later



Georgia poet H. Holt reminds us of a sorrowful event from 1991, the accidental death of Eric Clapton's young son.  I still remember where I was when I first heard Clapton's tribute to his son, "Tears in Heaven."


“Conor Clapton”



Success is heavy—

the spotlight, the smiling,

the confession of lies

that say “I’m fine”

just so the cameras

will stop flashing

and reporters will stop

yap, yap, yapping,



but you’re not fine,

and Conor’s death

is heavier, still, isn’t it?

heavier than cocaine,

than any true vocal hue

from bell-bottom blues

brought to the masses,

to ease them into your lie



you wrapped a belt

around your aching soul,

and made an extra notch

to keep it tight, in check.

letting the years slip by

beyond the 53rd floor

where his final laugh sang,

absent your reception



he is the only music

you couldn’t master,

to bring to your guitar

and play again,

so you weep instead,

imagining his voice

speaking your name

above the clouds,

where no tears fall



--



H. Holt has been published by various magazines and blogs, including The Blue Mountain Review, Eunoia Review, Yellow Chair Review, Hobo Camp Review, and Ishaan Literary Review, among others. She was published in "Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems," alongside former president Jimmy Carter. Holt serves as the managing editor for Walking Is Still Honest Press. She is a full-time student and a full-time member of The Southern Collective Experience with dreams of writing the next great American novel.

If you would like to listen to "Tears in Heaven," here is a link to that song: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxPj3GAYYZ0

I'm going to include some links to Eric Clapton's instrumentals as well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmyT1F3RBzY

This isn't an instrumental, but I thought I'd include it anyway:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEx9O9x8Jnw

This instrumental is acoustic.  I'm not sure which song it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V1gGXyPSAQ

I'll finish with Clapton's blues guitar.  B.B. King is on stage with him.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71bo0JaHqrQ

OK, this is the encore--Clapton and B.B. King's version of John Hiatt's "Riding with the King":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJK78Y3zoQk

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Miss Kiane in 2018!


After a little searching and a lot of computer troubles, I've found a good picture to accompany DMV poet Miss Kiane's prose poem.  Hampton University's Linzy Henderson performs in a 2012 tribute to African-American women at Virginia's Ft. Eustis.

Her body writhed like a snake controlled by “Trane’s rhythmic power.  Every note transcended the previous and her flesh was possessed with jazz. Syncopation was her holy ghost and her feet spoke in tongues.  Arms flapping so powerfully, she created the wind she soared upon.  There was no shame in her movement.  No fear of expectation or rattling chains.  Just freedom.


It's good to remember the summer on such a bitterly cold day!  Imagine "the bass line of summer."  Imagine a wind that kisses you or strokes you rather than biting or clawing.  All of that is coming, and Miss Kiane brings it closer.


The sun illuminates the brush ever so perfectly
The air is quietly filled with bird songs, wind powered streams and canine conversations
If you listen close enough you can hear the bass line of summer on a nearby basketball court.           
   
It's peaceful.   For this moment, the dry brown spots are a luscious green and bare limb are laden with fruit.
Like an enamored lover, the wind    kisses my neck gently while stroking my hair sweetly.       
And for this moment, the piercing sirens are but mezzo sopranos performing urban opera and trees give a standing ovation.     

The painting in the sky is a perfect blue decorated with wisps of white and multi-room birdhouses.
All is serene. Even insects refrain from their pest-imistic ways. They lie still sipping on placidness and humming the song of the blue jay. For this moment, the war cry of the locust did not mean the end of the world and the sun was not possessed by hell's fury.

It's so quiet. I can hear my heart clanging against my rib cage. There are no mini wind storms in my nostrils and the race cars are not crashing against my cranium.         
                                  
For this moment, all is well. For this moment, perfection is tangible. For this moment, I close my eyes and I am not afraid.

Let's start with John Coltrane's "Alabama": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saN1BwlxJxA

Or perhaps his "Manifestation" was what the woman in the prose poem was listening to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJXJmXf1f6M

These two jazz bassists give you a preview of the 1950s contest.  Stanley Clarke was born in 1951:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gldoTwdvW2Y  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtyzeBsZe4A  

Jaco Pastorius was born in 1951 but died in 1978:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgntkGc5iBo

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Gabriel Eziorobo Rings in the New Year!


Tonight Gabriel Eziorobo returns with the first poems of 2018!

I am not perfect

You say
I am a young boy
I know nothing about love
you even came to visit my family
to carry out an investigation
you made me look like a fool
to everyone that sits beside me.

You say
a lot of things I could remember
give me a minute to think
the line I love so much
about the Bollywood movie.

You say
I am not perfect
I am too young to be in love
you even called me a writer indeed
but you read a lot of books by Shakespeare
the king of writing
that you have found a good man
too good to be perfect for you
maybe you can say this again and again
for my art to be accomplished on earth.



It is finished

They say it is finished
they say they will do us well
more than the colonial masters of the past
that we don't need to worry about anything
but learn how to be slaves.

They say it is finished
they made us believe
the things for the deaf people
they say we don't need to worry about anything
but learn how to be deaf.

They say it is finished
they put us here,in this paradise
which prison is better off
they say we don't need to worry about anything
but learn how to be prisoners
hoping to be free someday.

My hand


They say it is forbidden
they say no one should use it
they say no good thing comes
from the left hand.

Maybe I have to call that man
who lives in a house he did not build
yet still complaining
who is that man,that says it is forbidden
tell him,I am at the place of truth resting.

Maybe I have to call that man of condemnation
who lives in a house of illusion
he builds overnight
who is that man, that says it is disrespectful?
where was he when the world was created?


    Counting

Counting the pieces will not be enough to do alone
telling us to keep silent will not be enough to do
because we are not meant to be deaf and dumb
telling us lies will not do us good but cause us harm
telling us to read every 24hours in order to pass exam will not be
good enough to do
the brain will be getting bigger and weaker and the age will be coming
closer to the time
mum and dad won't stop telling us
about Nkechi who gained admission
to study medicine in Delta State University
are you not ashamed of yourself?

Is Nkechi not your age mate?
we don't want to riot,we just need admission.


Gabriel's Bio: I am a writer and poet from Nigeria. I love writing poetry
because I can express myself better than when speaking.


I'm not sure if I've posted any of Roy Brooks' music, but I thought I'd do so tonight.  Moreover, I found some albums beyond The Free Slave.

Let's start with "The Free Slave": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1ay4rmkE1s

The Telmo Fernandez Organ Trio covered this song as well.  It looks like I was the first view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae8b39US0aY

Roy Brooks returns with "The Last Prophet":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyxH-OcNDwY

I'll finish with his "Will Pan's Walk":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCLSeZIv-tY

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Welcome to Tim Staley!


This evening I'd like to post some intriguing, slice-of-life poems that New Mexico poet Tim Staley sent me.  (Thank you for your patience, Tim!)  He and I were both in Catfish McDaris and Marc Pietrzykowski's anthology Resurrection of a Sunflower, poems and prose inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.

It Was the Day of My Vasectomy

A nurse prepped me like I was livestock.
I was 2 Xanax in and she was too rough.
She left my nuts under a heat lamp.
The doctor finally came in and told me
if I stopped having babies the Blacks
and the Mexicans and the Muslims
would sure enough fill this country up.
A strange sentiment for a sterilization.
Then I’m thinking about the young van Gogh,
a bit shiftless, unable to find his place
in business or in the exams of the church
so he goes down to the mine to see sunlight
through the miner’s eyes, shrunk to a pinhead,
and the Xanax is wearing off
and I smell him cauterizing my vas deferens.



THE FALLEN SOLDIER

The fallen soldier lands
at Cleveland International.
4 green fire trucks,
10 cop cars, a hearse,
and a blur of red, white and blue
glitters on the wet tarmac.
A son, a father, a brother
and 6 flags stand limp.
Some of us stop to gape
for 2 or 3 minutes before
dashing to our gates.



Another Meaningless Morning

Sylvia kneels on the sofa, her back to the living room,
she’s looking out the window, she sees a fluffy bird.
The light is broken by the blinds and lays across her face
in thick, bright bars. There's dust floating in the air
and the sound of Thursday’s snoring in her dog bed
even though she just woke from 18 hours of sleep.
In the bedroom Suzanne is also asleep, on her left side,
spit hangs from the rim of her lip. The ceiling fans
continue to spin counter-clockwise. The window in the bedroom
is open, a cool front blew in last night. In the window sill,
stuck between the screen and the glass is the skeleton of a gecko,
maybe 3 inches, striped tail, eyes beady and black, wide open
and intact. Outside a breeze starts in Deming and turns bad
on its way to the Mesilla Valley. Bits of dust and rock vibrate
and lift from the desert floor to make their way in a violent cloud
toward our house, toward the fluffy, unidentified bird in our front yard
hopping between the palo verde and the juvenile locust tree
and in Sylvia’s stomach there’s a barking and a Happy Meal
watch is on her little wrist but it’s broken and is only purple to match
her skirt which has 28 sparkly hearts sewn above the bottom hem,
and between her two front teeth there’s a morsel of mango
that her toothbrush must have missed, and she turns to face her daddy,
to ask him about that fluffy bird, as he makes his way to the coffee maker.

Ring Them Bells

Elonganel got his bell rung
and saw green for an hour.
Coach said our sideline
looked like Mash last night.
Now I sit around drinking coffee
as the non-disabled students amble in
while half the football team
wanders the hallways,
sliding recklessly back and forth
over the black ice of their synapses.



Angela, She’s Gone

I can blink the tiredness from my eyes
but she’s gone. My sister, mother of two.
My daughter's first real death
is 3 hours old, 4 hours old...

Jill’s mom didn’t let her
go to her father’s funeral.
It was a motorcycle crash
after the war, Germany, hit by a truck.
The mother knew funerals
were no place for a child.

It’s past my daughter’s bedtime.
Go on, I tell her, play,
don’t worry about the stars
shifting on and on.

If you would like to see more of Tim Staley and his poetry, visit his website: https://poetstaley.com/  He may even be coming to a town near you!

Let's start the music with Thelonious Monk's "Boo-Boo's Birthday,"  Boo-Boo being his nickname for his daughter Barbara: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDHAo7xmIac

I'm trying to find the Robert Glasper song with his child, but in the meantime, here is "Ah Yeah" featuring Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN0tFgLcp4g

"Fever" is a bonus track on the Robert Glasper Experiment's Black Radio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuvF2DfQM3k

 I'll finish with Woody Shaw's "The Moontrane":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgjTnRcxOJA and "Katrina Ballerina": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQkGc7dfIPE