Monday, June 29, 2015

Vote In Mourning and Memory

Since Rita May Recine's poems concluded the In Mourning and Memory contest, I would like to post information about voting.

Any one may vote, but send me your vote via Facebook email or .  Please vote for one poem, especially if the author has more than one poem.  In addition, you may vote only once. There will be a prize.  Since we have both political and apolitical work, we may have two winners.

I encourage you to ask your friends and family to vote!

Voting will end on July 15.

The eligible poems are below:

The contest began with Quaker poet Martin Willits, Jr.'s "Epistle on Healing":

Ed Schelb contributed several poems here:

Catfish McDaris' flash fiction "Sweet Jesus" and poem "Beware of PoPo" are here:

See the link below for his "Elizabeth," "Animal Crackers," "17 Cents a Year," and "700 People Dancing Somewhere":

Amber Smithers contributed two poems "A Lullaby to My Son" and "Angry Black Woman":

Joan McNerney's "For the Mothers" is here:

See the link below for Jerry A. Scuderi's "Do You Recognize Him?", "Broken Then Crumbled," "Tiny Hands," and "Love and Justice":

Jerry's "Men in Blue" is here:

Kavon Ward contributed "I Am Michael Brown," our first spoken word piece:

Charles Clifford Brown III provided another perspective on mourning and memory with "Promise to Momma" and "For Dad":

David Pointer shifted the contest in a new direction with "Beyond Eugenics Laws":

Bea Garth draws our attention to her nephew Robert here:

Avis D. Matthews remembers a visit to her young aunt with "Chicago, 1971, for my aunt DeWana":

Doug Mathewson contributed "Which Goodbye," "Sequenced Dreams," and "Woman's Way":

Miss Kiane refocused us with "Grass Don't Grow in the Ghetto" and "In Route to Metro":

Her "Tribute to Maya" is here:

Gary Malone added his "Young, Black, and Unarmed":

Here is Regina A. Walker's "Musings":

Mary Jo Balistreri contributed "Star Light, Star Bright" and "Stained Glass":

Rita Marie Recine concluded the contest with "Tears for a Nation," "For My Father," "Heaven Must Be Rocking Out Tonight," and "A Salute to BB King -- Remembering 16":

Finally, here is some voting music for you:

I haven't posted any Jimmy Smith yet, so here is his "Sermon":

Here is Art Blakey and the Messengers' "I Remember Clifford":

Remember to vote!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rita Marie Recine

With Canadian poet Rita Marie Racine's "Tears for a Nation," the Mourning and Memory contest concludes.  I think that the contest's poems have shown great diversity, including the personal as well as the political.  Unfortunately, political poems will always be relevant--until we change our ways, but this is a good time to end the contest.  Watch this space for information about voting.

Tears for a Nation
First there were the first and second world war, titanic, September 11 2001
To name a few
These were the days when the world cried for our neighbour, for a nation, for the red, white and blue
A happy humble day became fretful and grey.
As I today remember, I knelt down and proceeded to pray.
These were the days when the world cried for our neighbour, for a nation, for the red, white and blue.
With purpose they rescued, shed tears battled their fears.
Where there is calamity, catastrophe there is no ending and no start.
I wept for the men and women with the golden hearts as I too fell apart
Many lives irreversibly taken away, families weeping, young ones sleeping.
These were the days when the world cried for our neighbour, for a nation, for the red, white and blue
Survivors attempted to cope with this piece of history/
In thoughts and misery
There is a monument known worldwide.
A place where our fallen angels lay.
These were the days when the world cried for our neighbour,
for a nation, for the red, white and blue
A tribute to our finest heroes and heroines..
priceless relationships cherished.,.
Together they perished.
These were the days when the world cried for our neighbour..
for a nation, for the red, white and blue..
All came together, no way out.
Love for the fellowman was what it was all about.
There is a memorial I ponder upon today..
I remember and pray for all.
Those persons whose fate and natural life had changed that day..
These were the days when the world cried for our neighbour, for a nation, for the red, white and blue.
The flags are proudly suspended.
Any and all challenged with all their might, together they made it right.
For me,,for you for our fallen heroes and heroines for the red , white and blue.

Ritamarie Recine
May 25, 2015

For my father
I saw
I saw joy I saw pride in your heart and soul. When we were so very small. My little feet ran through the corridor hall. You stood so grand and tall.
I know the love you had for your family, It was perfect not an anomaly.
I saw the rain when you felt pain,
I saw the tiredness you felt, after coming home from an arduous day.
Fatigue in your face, Every line, every trace.
I saw inspiration, dedication. I saw the light in your eyes so clear, so blue.
My childhood, so carefree, full of fun.
You taught me how to skate and run. For my father, ,I saw
Kites I did fly Up high, reaching the threshold of the heavens
I saw your eyes, the window to your soul.
Obstacles unable to foresee. My love for you will forever be.
The essence of time may have passed me by Remembering , recollecting.
I can never forget your struggle. Tears never cease. For my father I saw
Pulling at my heartstrings no matter how I try., A positive thought I shall write, Your image, your strength, your stories in my mind, Often comes my way.
This is what I wish to carry with me today. For my father, I saw
Ritamarie Recine

I also want to include Rita Marie's tribute to Janis Joplin. I think that it's the third such that I've included and the first by a woman. Years ago I read a biography of Janis, and in it the author commented that both men and women felt like Janis was singing to them. This was not always the case with other female musicians.

Heaven must be rockin out tonight A tribute to Janis Joplin Driving in her Mercedes Benz Nothing left to lose. Smoking a cigarette , smiling. The young Janis had found her way. Heaven must be rockin out tonight A tribute to Janis Joplin A star was born. A native of Texas .. so long ago The 60s the 70s She takes center stage. Heaven must be rockin out tonight. The band must be great You got legends Janis, BB, Jimi and maybe even Bobby McGee. Flower child …. Girl power. Heaven must be rockin out tonight Known as Pearl among her friends moving rocking doing her thing amidst her storms , the sun does shine her voice leaves an echo , shouting.. She was called weierd .. I say different…. I say soulful , I say special … Heaven must be rockin out today The bravado of her voice can be heard for miles. rage of light, in the starry night. her own person, artistry a tapestry She was taunted a child music was her medicine. Removed the pain offered gain. . Heaven must be rockin out tonight You were the legend who never slept, flower child. Appeared so wild, yet so mild.. Heaven must be rockin out tonight Her only number one hit was me and bobby mc gee.. I wonder what happened to old Bobby McGee.. When we hear this song we think of Janis Joplin. Artistry, a legend a tapestry. Heaven must be rockin out tonight She sang for the world admired by all … went home alone. Many thought she was weird .. she was different. A child so misunderstood, Woodstock, soulful, flower child she fought , struggled with all her might . She gained , was pained. Heaven must be rockin out tonight No one did see The young girl from Texas. Her heart bled ..tears were shed . Her songs say it all, happy sad, joyful or not. Heaven must be rockin out tonight With flowers in her hair ……not having any cares. san francisco to Texas .. she travelled about she sang and sang . Heaven must be rockin out tonight her guitar strumming to the music where was I in the 60s an d70s? A young child…. Wish I was there?. A wonder .. people gave out and applaud, shouted from the top of the monument until sundown You were perfect and so young..young Janis Heaven must be rockin out tonight Your natural life was tragically taken away. Little girl of Texas , you did not lose your fight. You’re perfect after all, Heaven must be rockin out tonight Seemed wild were so mild. You achieved much in your young life. Heaven must be rockin out tonight You left an imprint in people s lives Yesterday and today Heaven must be rockin out tonight One more time before the storm she sang her last song. Heaven must be rocking out tonight That fretful day, oh so young, a legend was taken away. Heaven must be rockin out tonight  
Rita Marie Recine June 21 2015

Rita has also written a tribute to B.B. King. It was previously published in Valeri Beers' Poetry Pasta:

A salute to BB King Remembering 16 – From gospel music to the blues To you we salute Inducted into the Hall of Fame Everybody knew your name The thrill is now gone . We have won Time to rest, playing up in heaven with the best Formerly known as the three kings The thrill is gone We have won Legendary artist of all time Among other things The thrill is gone With your music we have won You were the champion no one can forget You were the boss .. You played guitar with such class A legend like no other Your music touched many lives Children fathers and mothers A friend to the music industry No one can replace You sang the tune Reaching for the stars, sun and moon Many felt the love now you will be singing and strumming up above The thrill is gone Let the good times roll The thrill is gone Let the good times continue day by day. With your music we dance and sway To have heard your music is to love Similar to the sweet sound of a dove The thrill is gone With your music we have already won You are the legend you are the king Who made people laugh dance and sing You have sung happy birthday, a celebration From every walk of life from the rich to the poor you made us smile From generation to generation The thrill is gone As you walk with the Lord, he hears your wonderful song All rejoice in harmony for the thrill on earth may be gone

Let's listen to some B.B. King and Janis Joplin:

B.B. King plays "The Thrill is Gone" in 1993:

Not sure when this performance "Sweet Little Angel" is from:

I have to include "Every Day I Have the Blues":

I haven't posted Janis' "Me and Bobby McGee" yet, so here it is: 

Here she is live in (West) Germany:

Here she is at the Monterey Pop Festival:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stone by Amitabh Vikram Diwivedi

This evening I would like to welcome Indian poet Amitabh Vikram Diwivedi to The Song Is..  The theme of water has been much on my mind, so I enjoyed reading Prof. Diwivedi's poem on the simple pleasure of skipping stones across a lake.


Two acts are different:
Hold a flat and skinny stone;
Throw it into the well.
The water splashes and the stone disappears.
But your fingers are rather skillful.
When you hold it in between
And skid it into the lake;
It floats on the surface for a while;
Then the stone breaks it and splashes.
It is not the sound that matters: slosh and slush.
But the ripples move across the body and it expands.
It is love that matters in life, than duty.

Your love lives forever in my memory.

AMITABH VIKRAM DWIVEDI is university faculty and assistant professor of linguistics at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, India; and author of two books on lesser known Indian languages: A Grammar of Hadoti and A Grammar of Bhadarwahi.
His Hindi poetry collection titled Chinaar kaa Sukhaa Patta (trans. Dried Leaves of Chinar) is a notable contribution to contemporary Hindi poetry. He has published around 100 poems in different anthologies, journals, and magazines worldwide. Recently, his poem “Mother” was included as a prologue to Motherhood and War: International  Perspectives (Eds.), Palgrave Macmillan Press. 2014. 

I keep seeing recommendations for Lou Donaldson's The Natural Soul, so I am going to post a link to that album's first cut, "Funky Mama."  It seems to be a nice, fun summertime song:

He also did a version of "Love Walked In" on this album:

I'll finish with his version of "People Will Say We're in Love":

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Texas Swing....Quixote in Cowtown by Ed Schelb!

Tonight we'll stay in Texas, but this time I will post a poem from the swing contest, Ed Schelb's "Quixote in Cowtown."

If you'd like the version without the graphics, here it is:

Quixote in Cowtown

Listen to that Texas swing – the wash tub
bass-thump that mesmerizes like stock cars
on a dirt track, bullroarers, the dust
grit of sound over which the guitar soars

as full of suffering as a field holler,
that thump-thump thump-thump to enslave your feet
while your head finds its release – roller
derby crack the whip to the Promised land, sweet

Jesus! But Jimmy and the others, they don’t hear
that Pentecostal surge – only chicken gizzards
and lynch mobs, their Grandaddy’s Buick, the fear
of a gyrating pelvis – instead they’re icy lounge lizard

cool. Cowboy surfers. Not that I’m immune
to the lure of surface, the divestiture
of emotion that we’ve been spoon-
fed – keep it cooool. No manure

on your boots. Just bright black polish.
Cowboy junkies with their heroin laissez-faire.
Jimmy’s practicin’ that Playboy swish-swish
with his bow – the antithesis of despair –

like Porter Wagoner’s rhinestones and towels in Biz bleach.
He’s struck the attitude – a solid missile silo
in Nevada waiting for the security breach.
As blind in Tucamcari or some Greek archipelago

as Polyphemus – though he’d prefer Blind Lemon
or some jazz great, with a heightened sense of smell
and taste for the angelic savor of women.
Cloves and cinnamon. I smoke Pall Malls

without filters to get that voodoo sandpaper
voice – a bit like raisin’ catfish corn-fed,
if you ask me – but then if I were a leper
I’d prefer my own stink to a harlot’s bed.

No tent revivals for this old sinner,
though for a while I carried around a pocket Aquinas –
better metaphysics than swillin’ paint thinner –
to please a Catholic army brat – private first class

hot tamale who rode shotgun to Abilene
suckin’ on her crucifix and makin’ all
the thrones and dominions groove, the unseen
logic of the divine as sad as a whippoorwill.

She sang back-up for a time, her voice like Mozart’s
flute – elegiac jailbait bubblegum falsetto
that makes you think of girls in go-carts
mixing their 7-Up with amoretto

when all the wine coolers are gone.
She made love like an unfinished requiem
or an empty turnpike at dawn,
her legs stretched out like El Greco’s Jesus in a denim

jacket. Those were my Quixote kicks.
I nearly converted. I stained my Stratocaster’s
pearl inlay with the Kama Sutra survival kit
of fragrant oil that burns like rocket boosters

until your sex would disengage and land in the Atlantic,
burnt up in the atmosphere. Not that it worked.
Good Tabasco sauce, though, a little drip
and my tongue would do the clean and jerk

and my eyes would bulge like a Russian weight lifter’s
(I learned my palm-slappin’ dust-flyin’ insouciance
more from Alexeyev than high plains drifters).
In short, I was a flop. Don Juan with a paunch.

Let’s leave it at that. I’ll take responsibility.
for my dark junkyard concupiscence.
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty
I boogie on. Hosannahs in the revival tent.

And now for the Texas swing!

Let's start with Bob Willis and the Texas Playboys' "Steel Guitar Rag":

Next is their "Deep Water":

The Quebe Sisters Band also plays swing:

Clay Walker plays with his European audience here:


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Martin Willits, Jr., Janis Joplin, and Little Girl Blue

Since I've been getting ready to post Martin Willits, Jr.'s poem, Janis' music has been going through my head.  I wonder which songs I am going to choose!

Janis Joplin
            Listening to Little Girl Blue


She has been counting her blessings
and she had run out of fingers
still the blues fall as raindrops
she does not know where the troubles
begin or end but somewhere they do

her happiness is a little girl
in blue rain from the sky’s blues guitar
although she has no reason to go on
she strands the raindrops into necklaces
of blessings

and she is dancing on feelings
like a ballerina she will never be
and although the rain burns
blessing are what she counts on best.


I met her in the coffee house circuit
blue jeans with holy knees
a yellow buttercup out of place
singing Robert Johnson
like he was inside her and could not get out

I said
girl you got the torch and singe
all you need is some Big Mama Thornton
in the Summer Time
when living ain’t easy

she was tearing notes
like they were dandelions
he loves me he loves me not.

Let's start with "Little Girl Blue":

I'm also going to include a live version from Toronto:

Here is a live version of her "Maybe":

This "Summertime" is live as well:

And, of course, we'll finish with her "Hesitation Blues":

Monday, June 15, 2015

For Mothers, Fathers, and Jerry A. Scuderi

Mother's Day, I am afraid, caught me by surprise this year, but it's not too late to post Jerry A. Scuderi's poems for mothers *and* fathers.

. . . of hero's and angels ­ a conversation

You appeared to me when I was low ; then carried me away from woe.
You shielded me from certain death ; swept me away ; brought me to rest.

I went in for you; I needed to . Brought you from harm ; that's what I do .
With you in peril ; I would not flee . I could do no other ; don't you see ?

Thoughts of you elate me so , man of strength, my hero .
I feel no sense of your pride ; for you I'd come again or die .

You appeared to me above my bed ; with glowing hair, you rest my head .
No thrust of pain goes through my mind ; in sight of you, Beauty Kind .

I care and comfort ; it’s what I am . You're in my trust, distraught lamb.
I'm not a vision of loveliness ; I work and smile and tend distress .

You've come in time of my need ; with love, concern, how you've helped me .
I’ve found "a vision of loveliness" ; to quiet, to calm, to sooth my stress .

Jerry A. Scuderi
November 20, 2012

A Sonnet for Mom

 Mom, know you are a part of me.

To you I smiled and blinked my eyes;

I’d crawl, then walk, then reach the sky.

You fed and bounced me on your knee;

and molded me to find life’s glee.

My floured hand created pies.

I’ll think of you through life’s good byes.

You showed me how love’s life’s key;

and channeled me through right and wrongs.

You taught me how to hear life’s songs.

The day’s to come when you’re not here;

show me how to grin in pain.

The years will flow as will my tears;

your Way will bring me you again.

I   AM

I made you child to be with Me.

I form all things, small and wide.

Come follow Me and leave good-byes.

I want for you, a life’s that’s free.

I brought for you, curiosity.

Respect and honor; hold this tie.

Others prowl, deceive, and lie.

Be just and kind, see love’s the key.

Show the way, Glare of Light.

Shine for me in dark of night.

Though skies are black, all things will pass.

Don’t fear, My child, you’re not alone.

When time itself has seen it’s last.

I’d come for you; I’d brought you home.

Royal Child

Come forth child ; and call My name.

Search for Me in shine and rain .

I made you once , from dust and ash :

to jump and play , to romp and dash .

For you I made the earth and sky .

Come fill My arms ; in Me abide .

You light My world with bright eyed glee .

Choose My way ; I guide and free .

Show My way to all that care ;

extend My hand that I’ll be there .

With smile and touch and warm embrace

Think of Me ; when life you face .

Don’t wrench My heart ; don’t go astray .

Nothing’s there , just smoke and fray .

In fright and loss , to Me come flee .

I’ll tuck you in e ter’ ni ty .

My fridge awaits ; so come and eat .

On ice­box find . . . your face so sweet .

This poem, I believe, is a reprint.

Mama’s Keys

Play for us your old songs, Mama ;
babes babble at your knees .
Ne’er a thought of youthful long ;
pound rhythm from those keys .

Raise for us a smile for life ;
your beauty shines of youth .
Gone are carefree primping nights ;
drinking sodas in a booth .

Infuse in us your children ;
courage to face the day .
Character you’re buildin’ ;
boogie runs weariness away .

Bang your swing of long ago ;
emit firmness of purpose .
With sailing comes a time to row ;
we’ll clear life’s abyss .

Your piano here sits all alone ;
so quiet are the keys .
I’ll remember lessons shown ;
to children , friends , and me .

Sleep Babe

Spider Tops and Lolly Pops
among dark foreboding shapes ,
Bump and Clicks and Hopping Bops
lurk on the window drapes .

Spider Tops and Lolly Pops ,
is anyone there ?
Rookie Cops seek Curley Tops ;
find moose , badger , bear .

With eddy legs the Lolly begs
down grass centered lanes .
Dowdy kits with spindle legs
play bold and daring games .

Rest my head ; put me to bed
under down of pleading goose .
I slip to sleep , lost my dreads .
Spring of youth is loosed .

Find your Tops and Lolly Pops
my dimmed , tucked , and kissed .
Lay your head , melt into bed .
So gone from mom and missed

I'll finish up with a little music.  Thelonious Monk's "Boo Boo's Birthday" comes to mind first:

This version of "Like Father, Like Son" was recorded in Indonesia.  Young Joey Alexander is on the piano.

The Bill Evans Trio plays "Mother of Earl":


Friday, June 12, 2015

Words and Images for the Spring from Joan McNerney and Angelee Deodhar

Now that I am back from a reviving trip to Boston, I'd like to post a few more poems by Joan McNerney.  However, this time these poems are part of a visual collaboration by poet, editor, and visual artist Angelee Deodhar.  Enjoy!

This last poem ("Lost Dream") has also appeared in Black Poppy Review.

As part of my trip to Boston, I spent time with Tamara Safford (whose exhibit you may's here:, and so of course she showed me not only her work but also the work of other artists she admires.  We even went to the Museum of Fine Arts where we saw the Hokusai exhibit.  A small part of the exhibit was Hokusai's responses to literature.  Angelee's creations continue in this vein, albeit also in a more modern, technological way.

I am going to add Angelee's illustration of her own haiku.  Her work has been widely published and recognized.  I hope to be able to include more at The Song Is....

I also want to include two of her interpretations of my own poems that were published in Black Poppy Review.  The photograph in the second visual below is by Mary Judkins, an artist from Ball Ground, Georgia.

I will close this evening with some music by Ornette Coleman who died very recently.  Rest in peace.

Here is a video of his "Peace," which has been turned into a tribute to him:

He recorded a few songs with poet or poetry in the title.  Here is his "Voice Poetry" from the 1970s:

"Relation of the Poet to Day Dreaming" is an earlier piece:

I'll finish with a link to his remarkable album The Shape of Jazz to Come:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Comic Poems by Joan McNerney

Today, with the lovely weather, I'd like to post some of Joan McNerney's comic poems.  The first is especially appropriate, given that this blog-zine is in the cloud.

“The Cloud”

Is this a new limbo?

If I place my poetry
in “The Cloud”, perhaps
it could never reach
cyber paradise?

Don’t you think
a few of my poems
are heavenly?

Do you think any
will be condemned to
everlasting flames?

Can you help my poetry
through cyber space?

Do sad poems make
“The Cloud” cry and rain?

Do happy poems cause
“The Cloud” to burst with sun?

Do scary poems create

My understanding of
“The Cloud” is a bit cloudy.

Please help.

Joan McNerney

O Awesome Muse Man

You of wondrous long hair
and haunting green eyes.

Why can’t you help me
with my household tasks
become my personal assistant
my housekeeper, my consort?
Shop cook handle my calendar
wipe dishes floors, type for me too.

O Muse marry me, gratifying all
my amorous needs.  Especially my
sexual wants…fulfilling all my fantasies.
Be awesome. Take me to some posh
restaurants. Let’s do something flamboyant
after jetting to fine cultural activities.

Instantly google all my queries.
Don’t forget to publish me worldwide
in hardcover, paperback, electronically
after procuring excellent translators.

Find some adoring relatives, perhaps
plan an intergalactic extravaganza?

Hurry, please.

Joan McNerney

Be Advised

Avoid any strenuous breathing activities.  Particles known as soot mixed with high ozone can be lethal.  Speed limits strictly enforced by air surveillance and radar.  Remember dead ends often lead nowhere.

This is a danger zone.  Buckle up.  Have a nice day.

To combat skin cancer, apply sun screen lotion generously to all exposed body parts.  Wear a sun visor even on cloudy days.  Have you tried prayer?  Be prepared to stop.

This is not a safe zone.  No passing.  Did you have a nice day?

Certain food stuffs are deleterious.  Due to nuclear preservation, fruits and vegetables rot from  inside out.  Because animals are forced fed, meat may have unnatural fat content.  Many hamburgers and pickup trucks are recalled but few are chosen.

This is a danger zone.  No passing out.  What day is it?

At Justice For All Warehouse, divorces start at only $350.  Considering suicide?  Request prescription assistance if you have low income.  Or, try prayer.

This is not a safe zone.  No passing over.  Stay to the right for breakdowns, pop a tranquilizer, and have a nice day.

When you feel faint or dizzy, drink water.  Unfortunately much of our water supply has been contaminated by those multinational corporations we all love to hate. O well.

Have you tried prayer?
Have you tried breathing prayer?
Have you tried eating prayer?
Have you tried drinking prayer?

Remember stay to the right for breakdowns
And do have a nice day!

Joan McNerney

I'll finish up with some comic music for you.

Since the first version of "My Old Flame" that I knew of was Spike Jones', I didn't realize that it was a serious song:

Here is his "Cocktails for Two":

Dizzy Gillespie performed his "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac" on the Muppet Show:

Given this anecdote by Milt Hinton, I feel like I shouldn't juxtapose Dizzy Gillespie and Cab Calloway.

 But here goes:

Friday, June 5, 2015

Poems by David Fox

This evening I'd like to post a few poems by David Fox, the editor of The Poet's Art (a print magazine) and an active member of the Whispers community.  His first poem is very timely for me as Rockville, like many other areas, has been experiencing quite a bit of rain.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see the sun this evening.  However, "Creating" reminds us how inspiring a rainy day can be.  David's other poems celebrate spring.


In a cozy café
of soft repose
I write a harmony
of original and
aesthetic masterpieces
in rhythm with the rain.

Spring Fling
Birds return from their winter's vacation
Red robins return to their nest
Canaries sing a merry tune
Bluebirds are feeding their young
The snow melts
The flowers bloom
Spring has returned

Spring, My Poetic Season
I can get a tan
Or take a refreshing dip in the water in summer,
Look at the different colored leaves in autumn,
Going sledding, making snowmen,
And throwing snowballs are fun in winter.

But spring is best...
rabbits romping in the field, canaries chirping,
seeing all different kinds of flowers,
so many great images -- this poet's best season!

Seasonal Cycles
Spring is the season when
The birds and flowers return,
Animals come out of hibernation
Then summer comes with its heat
Some people retreat to the ocean or pool
While others take the opportunity to do yard work
Autumn comes along
And changes the colors of the leaves
To yellow, gold and crimson,
While some remain green
As the leaves change
They drift slowly to the ground
Then winter comes
Chilly winter is upon us
And alabaster snowflakes
Eventually kiss the ground
Sorrowfully freezing most
Of nature's goodness.
But then spring returns,
New flowers will appear,
And everything smart enough
To hibernate will come out from their hiding places
A life starts again.

David Fox is an editor of the print magazine "The Poet's Art", the address listed in Poet's Market or available via e-mail, though he prefers all submissions by "snail mail".  He has had several poems off and on the web including "Aphelion", "Bell's Letters, "Ceremony",  "Creative Inspirations""", Inspiration Peak", "The Jokester", "Laughter Loaf", "Pancakes In Heaven", "The Pink Chameleon", "Poem Train", "Poetic Skies", "The Shine Journal" and "WestWard Quarterly" and articles on "Working Writer"

I'll finish with some songs that evoke spring.

I haven't included many songs by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, so here is their "Up Jumped Spring":

Here is Clifford Brown and Max Roach's version of "Joy Spring":

Jazz guitarist Achim Kohl wrote "Birds of Spring," a title that complements David's poems:

The Bill Evans Trio performs "Spring Is Here."

I'll finish with "You Must Believe in Spring" as performed by Michel Legrand and the Phil Woods Quartet:

It's hard to get enough of spring!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

In Mourning and Memory by Mary Jo Balistreri

Tonight we come to the end of the mourning and memory contest with Mary Jo Balistreri's poignant poems about her daughter Anne who is currently in hospice.  These poems are heartbreaking.

Star Light, Star Bright

The hardest thing she says is that they will forget.
He will no longer exist as the Sam of practical jokes
and wild laughter. He will lose his status as playmate,
as fellow first grader. They will not remember how he
showed compassion when they were sick, how he worried
that they had no central line for medicine. They will forget
how special he saw himself, or how they learned
from his difference.

The six-year-olds he went to school with have gone to eight.
They’ve moved beyond him in many ways, and what his mother
fears comes true. They do not ask of Sam when she sees them.
They are timid with her. She loses him again and again. And now,
she stops bringing treats on his birthday, does not come to teach
the reading group on Wednesday. The gingko tree planted
in his honor stands covered with snow. Sam is just another child
who died young.

His mother walks by the school, brushes the snow off the tree.
She works at the hospital and cares for the other children at home.
She cooks and talks with friends and always reads Frank Rich first
on Sunday.

But I grieve for my living child, know there are as many ways
of being dead as there are of dying. Her second child, the elder
of “ Best Brothers,” is terminal with the same disease.
I watch her toil endlessly for more time as she loses herself
to the memory she’s buried, to keep Sam alive.

She’s an old star, shining too brightly, burning up light
from within. As night closes in, I try to reach across the distance
that holds her before she implodes into the dark hole
of lost children.

Stained Glass

It’s August-hot at the Jersey Shore
but my daughter combs the beach
for bits of sea-glass and broken shells.
In her own world, she plays as a child would,
scooping up black shapes for Zachary,
orange for Sam, washing them
in the cooler I’ve filled with seawater.
Lifting them to the light, she says
So fragile, but beautiful.

Everything inside her is damaged
by the same disease that felled her boys.
The shells are sharp against her hands. She’s lost
in broken remains.
But later that night, back at the cottage,
she modifies the story:
holds up a shard of golden-orange—

The table I’m making will glow like stained glass.
You know how it shines from within, with light from without. 

Note: "Stained Glass" previously appeared in The Healing Muse.

I'll close this evening with a few songs from Ahmad Jamal.  First is his recent "Saturday Morning":

Next is his "Tranquillity":

I'll finish with his "If I Find You Again":