Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Summer Potpourri from Poet Jerry A. Scuderi and Photographer Nick Clemente

Photograph by Nick Clemente

I think I've been watching too much Jeopardy! this summer, but the term potpourri seems to fit as Jerry's poems and Nick's photographs touch on a number of topics.  The photograph above was taken at Chesapeake Bay, one of Maryland's natural treasures.  The first poem "My Iron Man," was originally intended for Father's Day, but I think it fits well with Nick's picture above and with "Roar of Lions," the next poem.

My Iron Man

 My Iron Man turns bolts of steel ;
supporting us, he will not yield .

 I love his grease stained hands and arms ;
he speaks of work, yet for us he longs .

 My Iron Man has a face of leather ;
Though his back will ache ; our child he'll get her .

 My Iron Man has feet of clay .
He concrete stands on them all day .

 He has massive shoulders and a silver mind .
Kids come to him ; he's gentle and kind .

 My Iron Man has a heart of gold .
He talks to garden birds ; I'm told .

 "Go now , night shift !" , "Hands of Brass" .
We'll kiss at dawn ; this too will pass .

 I see him strain as the years set in .
He works with engines ; our life he wins .

 Home from work ; to his chair he'll rest ;
then fall asleep. He'll get my best .

 My Iron Man turns bolts of steel .
His love for us , he will not yield .

 I love him with my heart and soul ;
I care for him as we grow old .

Jerry A. Scuderi

Photograph by Nick Clemente

The Roar of Lions

 Pop's trailered his pick-up,   a mighty machine ;
to race, come see it,   a beauty yet mean.

Billowing smoke , "Orange Thunder",   stand by if you dare.
A grandson was called ;   oh, he needs to be there.

  See them, brothers and uncles ,   grandads all around;
hear the pulsing ear-piercing .   There's smoke and there's sound.

 Mom calls for a son,   not yet of teen age;
lean, smart, and quiet,    the men quickly guage.

 With uncles around him,   hear encoragement and praise;
his face is the face of their grand-uncle . . .   displayed!

 Tight gripping long hand shake,   between families that cared;
relay trust and approval of a son   freely shared.

 Pop worked. raised a family,   his racer's his joy.
Family men come to see him;   shout out for the boys.

  Males are molded and fashioned   by the things that they see;
labor for family;    it's the place they should be.

 "Little brother , what's in you?   I want you to show".  
"Through the smoke and the thunder,   a family must go ! "

 "Roar at me, brother !  Show a heart that is strong."
"A family will depend on   your will and your arm" !

 Families are spoke of ;   it's good to be here.
The years will soon pass us ;   new grandads appear.

 For families are timeless ;   need attention and care.
Provide direction and guidence;    give your life and your hair .

                                                                                                           Jerry A. Scuderi  June 13, 2009

Photograph by Nick Clemente

"Baton Pass" was inspired by Jerry's week at his church's work camp in Cumberland, Maryland.

                      Baton Pass

 Tapes carries through the night
of cloud rolled sky and dipper bright .

This work camp bursts of youthful vigor ;
traverse stone walls,  road, rails, and river .

Buldge wagon train with spring of youth ;
consume candyland's treats and juice .

Inky night lead your caravan ;
of Ethans, J.P.'s , Ryanns , Dan .

 Disperse , chatter high school stars
find your Jupiter and twinkles far .

 Monuments salute, town glows dart
to humble deeds and giving hearts .

 Stand  pure  kids  adultered ;
accept parents pass of love unaltered .

 Carry taps through the night
in a cloud rolled sky and dipper bright .                  Jerry A. Scuderi   6-25-15

Photograph by Nick Clemente

I'll finish with Jerry's poem "Vernal Environs / Emerald Kingdom" where he returns to the Chesapeake Bay.

   Vernal Environs / Emerald Kingdom

 Seduce arrow leaves on a carpet bound;
Chesapeake Bay's glories seen .
Stilled, quiet , serenity found .
Ancient habitat  , fertile , lean .

 Drift water lilies on this mid-day tide .
Dragon faces plunge and seek .
Violet sentries sway and glide .
Found arabesque scented alluring treats .

 Rule our cosmos Osprey high ,
masked sea hawk of talons keen .
Raptor fly ; command the sky ;
a swimming prey is with-in your means .

 Flow ebony brackish river .
Erupt, oh eddy , burst then splash ;
then ease ,  still ,  quiet giver .
Crack crystal !   'cects screeching . Dashed !

 Wee frog skip across the stones ;
ivy , grasses bow and dip .
See the wonders , Glories home .
What Creator's made ;   ingest    and    sip .

                                                                   Jerry A. Scuderi   July 16, 2015

Photograph by Nick Clemente

Let's see if Rockville has a thunderstorm tonight.  The thunderheads I saw this evening were certainly towering.  In the meantime, here is some summer music for you:

I'll start with Tommy Flanagan's "Smooth as the Wind."  This video appears to be on Dr. Billy Taylor's show:

The title of "Relaxin' at Camarillo" refers to its composer Charlie Parker's stint at a California psychiatric hospital, but I will include Flanagan's version from 1957 tonight:

Here is his "Nascimento" with his trio featuring Kenny Burrell:

I'll conclude with his "Peace":

Monday, July 27, 2015

Miriam Sagan and Chopin

This evening I would like to welcome Miriam Sagan, author of Miriam's Well, to The Song Is...  She is enabling us to branch out into classical music with her poem inspired by Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki and his interpretation of Chopin's 12 Etudes, Opus 10.  In fact, as Miriam recalled, she had been scribbling this poem in the dark while the young man above played.  (Actually, the picture above is from 2008.  Lisiecki is now 20.  For more information about him, see his website:


frozen waterfall=silence

cumulus moon
white keys' notes
fall like snow

reflected in the opened
piano lid
a city of windows
and caged canaries

just tell
me what I want
to know
or leave me alone

maybe I'd always
been happy

the Pleiades
over your side of the bed

crows scolded me for my neglect
as did a rainy wind
out of the west

old woman in the pool
and the shadow
of something

on the train platform
breath hung

a dream of jetties
of dead leaves

you might as well
come with me
after all

so many years ago
I took your
wearing this very same
pink coat

To listen to the piece that Lisiecki performed, click on this link:

Here he plays Nocturne in C sharp minor (1830) as an encore:

This is his version of Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise 2:

So that you may compare, here is Claudio Arrau's version of 12 Etudes, Opus 10 from 1953:

I am going to finish with Roy Eaton's performance of Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Pijush Kanti Deb Returns!

This evening I'd like to post a few new poems by the widely-published Indian poet Pijush Kanti Deb, author of Beneath the Shadow of a White Pigeon.  Enjoy!

A Favorable Decision
             Composed By Pijush Kanti Deb
Finally the bell is rung
and my peace loving sagacity wakes up
with a favorable decision
of conducting an aerial journey
up in the sky towards the Sun-
the super-superlative,
to maintain a touching distance
between me and the king of light
resulting in
the empowerment of my prayer to the sun
to pull down the super-luminous
nearer to my sweat producing firm
for making my groaning face visible
to my colleagues, friends and neighbors
and to push up the super-fire too
far away from my paradise-
built on and collocated by my blood and sweat
for making  my smiling face invisible
to avoid the hazardous heart-burning
on the part of both-
me and my known and unavoidable counterparts.

The Substitute Shadow
          Composed by Pijush Kanti Deb

A maturing fruit-
just start floating on youthful color,
longs for a beautiful umbrella-
an independent substitute
of the cool shadow of its native tree
and some mad moments too
to enjoy or suffer with no prohibitions
revealing the growing masculinity of the fruit
and  its irresistible longing for new to accept
rejecting the old – maybe made of gold
and one day  the shadow of the tree
becomes narrower
than the fruit’s ever-widening curious eyes
resulting in
fruit-shedding and a loneliness
rewarded by the dancing fruit to the tree
forgetting the wild flow of capricious wind
though defeated by the tree
yet proves to be an expert
in snatching the colorful umbrella from the fruit.

Composed by Pijush Kanti Deb

It would have been better
if tension were a stock-
once goes then never comes back again.
Alas !
It’s a flow on the contrary,
it keeps coming
dancing on the floor of  flow
to trample the soft brains down
tempting an ordinary to opine,
‘’ It is not to take but to give’’
and  thus it’s born in every moment
and an extra-ordinary to challenge,
‘’ It’s to take, check and search out
its self-destructive button’’
and hence it dies
in every next moment
for replacing itself by a new born tension.

Paul Motian and the Electric Bebop Band's version of "Brilliant Corners" goes well with Pijush's poem "Tension":

Here Motian plays "Lonely Woman" with Charlie Haden and Geri Allen:

The Paul Motian Trio recorded a song called "India":

I wanted to make sure that we had a song that referenced the sun, so here is Takuya Kuroda's "Everybody Loves the Sunshine":

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Painting Poems by Joan McNerney

Tomorrow my husband and I are going to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, so I thought that this would be a great evening to post more of Joan McNerney's painting poems.  Enjoy!  The painting above is not the panel at the Museum of Modern Art, but I prefer the picture above.  The panels are below, giving you an idea of their sweep, perhaps too much.  On the other hand, Joan's poem provides a better idea of what it is like to view the panels in person!

Claude Monet

Water lilies

Become a swan,
glide upon
patches of water lilies,
nibbling smooth, white petals.

Drift among shades
of green and blue
through grassy marshes...
pass pink, yellow, azure.

Be a crystal swan,
float upon water reeds
that rub your feathered
neck like a Buddha stroke.

Circa 1914-26 Museum of Modern Art (NYC)

Joan McNerney

Marc Chagall


She:             "Which is the loveliest flower,
the pink, yellow or white?

He:               "You, my dearest posy, are
most tender blossom of
them all."

She:             "Sweet bud, blow me a kiss."

He:               "You make me feel as if I
could fly."

They:            "Our love has given us wings.
Come, let us soar into the sunset

1915 (Museum of Modern Art, NYC)

Joan McNerney

And by a Woman!!!

Loren MacIver

Morning Cart

Hush, it is morning---
time for milk, fresh
peaches, sweet eggs.

Soft we move this
morning cart in
stillest blue air
for those who rise

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Joan McNerney

I'm glad that Joan included her response to a painting by a woman.  I'll post some performances by women, starting with Mary Lou Williams who is most known for her Zodiac Suite.

Right now we are under the sign of Leo:

Here is her "Ode to St. Cecile."

As a change of pace, here is Marian McPartland's "Melancholy Mood":

Hazel Scott's "Autumn Leaves" is for those of you who are tired of the summer heat and humidity:

Ms. Scott was also a classical pianist.  Here she performs Liszt for service members in WWII.  

I hope that these performances inspire you to write something for the women in music contest that ends July 31.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Congratulations to the Winners of the In Mourning and Memory Contest

This evening I'd like to post the winners of the In Mourning and Memory Contest.  Although this contest could certainly go on (and we should continue to pay attention to the issues that poets like Kevon Ward, Miss Kiane, and Gary Malone raise), all contests must end.

The winners follow:

Regina A. Walker for "Musings"

Catfish McDaris for "Beware of PoPo" and "Elizabeth":

Avis D. Matthews for "Chicago 1971, for my aunt DeWana":

Finally, the grand prize winner is Amber Smithers for "A Lullaby to My Son" and "Angry Black Woman":

Amber also won the Local Prize in the fall contests.

Congratulations!  I will be contacting everyone soon about the prizes.

In the meantime, the spring/summer contests continue, and I encourage you to continuing to submit poems of protest in memory of those who are dying too soon (Michael Brown...Eric Garner...Sandra Blount...).  I will have some changes for the spring/summer contests, but there will still be prizes!

I'll finish with some music.  These songs may hint at the prizes!

Let's start with Gil Scott-Heron's "Pieces of a Man":

We mustn't forget his "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised":

I know I've posted Ambrose Akinmusire's "My Name is Oscar Brown":

I'll finish with two pieces from Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra.  The first is "This is Not America":

The second is "The Ballad of the Fallen" featuring Haden and Carla Bley:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Music

Although the spring/summer contests continue until the end of the month, I would like to post some new poems in the summer music contest.  The first set are from Slovenian poet Dmitrij Skrk (and are translated by Djurda Vukelic-Rozic.


You, a tiny bird
talk to me
about touching the sky
and warm sun
high there,
about flying
in a borderless
dream -
talk to me

Your song
sounds merrily
in this deaf summer

my tiny bird
do you hear my song ?


Amazing colours,
spilled to serenity
of a summer evening,
colouring within me
your shadow.
And this swinging music
from the terrace
sows the seeds
to my fissured melancholy,
so there
passion and love
would sprout again.

Hesitant we slide
to a mystical night.

The second set of poems is by Joy Anne O'Donnell, a Pennsylvania poet.

The Flute

Music plays in the gentle breeze
blowing all the trees
the flowers 
sing with rain showers
I see the tulips standing proud
singing as the flute plays 
their favorite color
their summertime glamour.

Would you like to go to the beach or to the woods next?

The Sea

The sea
is a plea
for us to pray
for a relaxing day
to see the sand
to walk the land
to swim with waves of such powers hand
filling us with revival
bringing us survival
the sea 
a pearl

glowing colors sparkling swirl.

Log Cabin

In this precious vacation
built log by log 
tree by wind and sun
Its a getaway
to be by nature
in the woods of fresh air
the mountains swift grandeur
of so much good
fishing and feeling like we should
this masterpiece 
of dignified ancient time
charming mountains rhyme.

I'm not sure who the flutist is, but the song is "Sketches of Spain," and the group is Chick Corea's.

Frank Wess recorded with Dorothy Ashby, but here he plays "Monday Stroll" with another group of musicians including Kenny Burrell.  This recording is from 1957.

Here he performs with her on "Alone Together," a recording from 1958:

I'll finish with their "Dancing in the Dark," a later recording.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Angelee Deodhar's Poetry

Tonight I'd like to focus on Angelee Deodhar's own poetry.  She has done so much for other poets with the visuals she creates and gives to them, so tonight is a good time to put the spotlight on her own work.  The first poem drew my attention to the blue spruce, a tree I tend to ignore although, more importantly, the poem is about poetry.

Brief Bio: 
Angelee Deodhar an eye surgeon by profession, is a haiku poet ,translator and artist from India. 
Her haiku/haiga have been published internationally in various books, journals and on the internet. 

An interview can be read here

all the visuals accompanying the poems are paintings by Vincent Van Gogh
from this site 

I've posted Dorothy Ashby's music before, but I'd like to include some songs where she plays the koto, a Japanese instrument:

Here is Ms. Ashby's version of "Stranger in Paradise," where she plays the harp:

Finally, be sure to vote in the Mourning and Memory contest.  Your vote may make the difference:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Will Mayo Returns

Now that my computer is up and running once more (thank you, Callie, for guarding it!), I'd like to post a few more new poems and flash fiction from Will Mayo.

      With Memories Of The Valley


      Will Mayo

      Battered about the cornfield,
      the old crow wandered.
      Here, an ugly face full of straw
      brought lost reminiscences
      best not remembered.
      There, pine needles too sharp for the brood
      sent him in another direction.
      Another compass sent him in sight of hunter's guns,
      manned by those too old and blind to tell the bird.
      Still he flew upon wings worn tired by time
      and air gone heavy with condensation.
      Remembering mates lost by the age
      and young born for some reptile's fancy.
      Till at last the clouds came down.
      With heaven's hands he flew on
      in search of the green valley.
      Memories grew better with the dawn.

The Call Of The Crow


Will S. Mayo

I heard the call of the crow this morning.
It sounded distant and loud despite the pain.
I heard the cry through
trees like sentinels against the night.
Through the roar of jet airplanes
and vagrants’ mutterings against the cold.
Like the Lord Himself was to call me home
from winter’s death.
Till, at last, quite suddenly,
quiet as the dark of night,
I heard it no more.
And the forest was as empty as a grave
on a Christmas morning.

Not to be confused with Raven, the crow is an interesting figure in Native American mythology:

And, of course, one of the Native American peoples is the Crow.  They are now based in Montana.

Photographer: Realbirdium

One Long Lonely Night


Will Mayo

    Still I remember how it was one night long ago in Richmond, Virginia when I crawled shuddering out of a ditch after the sirens roared past in search of a renegade hitchhiker (me). Standing there on the ground putting my thumb out by the exit I thought that perhaps things might at last go right in a world gone wrong. Such were my thoughts when I saw that bright red Cadillac roaring down the freeway towards me heading right to my exit before at last piling on the brakes and skidding sideways into me knocking me rolling across the pavement. I let loose a bloodcurdling scream that ripped up the night and then struggled to my feet as a fat waddling man pushed his way out of the car and shouted at me, "What the hell are you doing here?! Where do you think you're headed?"

    I shivered with the cold and pointed up the embankment. "There, I guess," I said, with a loss for words.

    "Then get up there now, you fool!" he yelled at me and then proceeded to chase me up the hill whereupon I crawled over the chain link fence and out of his way. After that I wandered the streets most of the remaining dark before catching a couple of hours shuteye in the lobby of a rich man's hotel until being chased out by the bellhop at dawn.

    Wearyeyed and beat to the bone, I put my hand out and headed out of town. That leg never was quite right after that.

      Checking In


      Will Mayo

        Too, it's worth noting that one day I was walking along the outskirts of Baltimore back in '85 when all of a sudden a patrol car came buzzing along, its sirens blaring, and a cop hopped out the door.

        "You look a little lost there," he said. "Can I see some ID?"

        I put my hand in my pocket and silently handed over the wallet whole and entire. He thumbed through it and then, spying my photo ID with a picture of me dressed smartly in suit and tie with closely cropped hair and clean shaved cheeks, he turned and caught sight of me with my long straggly hair and my beard sprouting out in all directions, all of it erupting from flannel shirt and torn pants in the summertime and then said,
        "One question. What happened to you?"

        I shrugged. Said nothing.

        "Well, everything appears in order. Have a good day."

        "You, too, officer."

        I walked on. The miles encompassed me and me them. Ahead, the sun glowed in a shimmering ball of fire. Soon, I was lost in the haze of another day. The exhaust was neverending.

        Love Of Learning


        Will Mayo

          I can remember too that time that I was 10 and my father was a mere man of 45 and he was helping me with my homework one evening when all of a sudden I broke out crying. Concerned, he looked at me and asked, "Why are you crying, son?"

          "I'm crying," I said, "just as Alexander The Great cried when he felt that there was no more land left to conquer. For one day I'm afraid that there will be no more learning to be had."

          "Son," he replied. "There will always be learning to be had. You can bet your boots on that."

          "Are you sure?" I asked.


          Then I patted my textbooks and said, "Let us continue."

          Closer than ever, we studied throughout the night.

      I think I have to include Cassandra Wilson's "Traveling Miles" in this entry:

      I don't know if I've posted her version of "The Last Train to Clarksville":

      Recently my husband played a recording of Barry Harris' "Morning Coffee," which I liked quite a bit, so I want to share it with you:

      I'll finish with Pat Metheny's "Last Train Home":

      Be sure to vote in the Mourning and Memory contest while you have time!  Voting ends on July 15!!