Saturday, December 31, 2016

Juan Tituana and Vera Drozdova

Happy New Year, everyone!  Tonight while people are doing retrospectives of music, movies, and more (especially lists of people in memoriam), let's return to the fall with Juan Tituana's photographs and Vera Drozdova's poems.

Vera Drozdova

I Drink You
As if they are just flower leaves
I tear off enigma's vestments
Life – so unreal and so careless
Like stars, like clouds with no mist
As if they are just flower leaves
I tear off enigma's garments
Word after word – all new and charming -
Your gaze, your hand, your tenderness
I tear away my flower leaves
And earthly love is staying bare
A stranger's soul is gleaming, glaring
So close – like never in old days
I tear away enigma's skin
Kiss your forearms with all my passion
Confusing words, imagination,
I drink you, so - you flow within
I drink you and I drink your love
Drop after drop - so slowly, gently
And love is dark, unlit and tranquil
The confidante of all gods
As if they are enigma's leaves
I'll tear off my passion's garments
To drink you - as you are - unguarded
I drink you - let you flow and drift

© Vera Drozdova 2008-2016

Vera Drozdova · 

I Will Drown, I’ll Go Deaf
I will drown, I’ll go deaf
In my summer I’ll come to my fall
To the last sigh of grief
I will waste you, my love, - past recall
I will ruin, disgrace
You, my love, my vacant, empty church
Not to wait nights and days
Just for you, not to endlessly watch
In dishonor again
I am wiping the spits of my fate,
They are teasing me, then
My light days, they are slipping away
Chasing after the truth,
Sadness, loneliness – my only kin,
Tenderness, joy of youth
Are not easy to find within
Why so silent, my life?
Look – a willow bends over the blues
Soul – just like broken glass,
I will take the last splinter of you
I’ll trip over my hope,
Weeping yet in a pointless way,
On a planet ice-cold
Distant voices of friends fade away
Why so silent, my life?
Are you tired to run to the fall?
To the last bitter bite
I will waste you, my love, - past recall
Leaves of fall in the warmth
Can I see them and readily greet?
All hard feelings are burnt
But my heart is still thrashing in heat
From my heart’s burning heat
The light smoke rises so very high
Not a gift – but a hit
I will get under grey-haired sky
Wasting earthly delights
To the last jagged piece – past recall
Why so silent, my life?
Too afraid of the rains of my fall?

© Vera Drozdova 2016

Vera Drozdova is a Russian poet currently living in Moscow.  She’s been writing poems since she was 8 years old.  Some of her works have been published in magazines, newspapers and some song lyrics have released in CDs.  She has one poetry book published as an independent author and has won some poetry contests.  Vera likes to collect and read poetry books and meet new people from diverse backgrounds who share her love for poetry.

Juan also sent me some music to post with his photographs and Vera's poems.  The first is a link to Australian jazz musician David Lewis Luong's autumn jazz: 

Here are some autumn songs from Van Morrison:

If you'd rather dance, here is an autumn dance mix:

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Poems by Bryn Fortey

I'm pleased to say that I am starting to get some pieces about not driving.  Let's start with Bryn Fortey's poem set in the UK.  I hope that reading his poem will encourage you to send me your poems on this theme (not driving)--although I'm always happy to receive poems set in the UK.  


DRIVE by James Sallis
Is permanently in my top ten novels
Sparse, pared back, no padding
I admire the writing
Even though the title is not  
Part of my personal vocabulary 


When other teens were
Working on worn out old bangers
Head stuck under a rusting hood
Happily covered in oil and muck
I was
Having a smoke
A glass of beer
Trying to chat up
The new girl on the block

I have never had any interest in cars
Or any wish to drive one

I took lessons once
At an employer’s insistence
But they just showed me firsthand
How many idiots drove cars
And confirmed what I knew
That it wasn’t for me

There have been times in my life when
A license might have been handy
But I’ve made it
Got by
All the way to old age
Without one

With one
My level of incompetence
Might have seen me dead years ago

Swings and roundabouts my friend
Any chance of a lift?

Bryn Fortey 

I just realized that the poem above is a repost.  Oh well.  I meant to post the poems below.  Both honor musicians born in the 1930s.

(1930  -  1970)

In a genre renowned for the claiming
Of unproven relationships
Earl Zebedee Hooker really was
The younger cousin of the more famous
John Lee Hooker

Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi
A birthplace the Hooker cousins shared with
The likes of Son House and Ike Turner
Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf
Lived there a spell
And Bessie Smith tragically died there

Earl was an acknowledged master of
The slide guitar and wah-wah blues
Paving the way for the likes of
Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck

A misspent youth saw him run with
Chicago street gangs
A careful man a dollar
Renowned for his reluctance to pay
The members of his bands

He died young
Finally losing his battle against tuberculosis
Being remembered mainly
As a musician’s musician
Still known to have been enormously influential

Bryn Fortey

(1938  -  1972)

Hard bop player Lee Morgan
Was hired by Dizzy Gillespie at 18
And Dizzy knew a thing or two
About jazz trumpeters
A year on and he was part of
Coltrane’s Blue Train sessions
Later joining Art Blakey’s
Jazz Messengers  
Before recording with Benny Golson
And leading his own group
He even had a crossover hit
With The Sidewinder
But his development as a
Soloist, band leader and composer
Was cut tragically short
When his long-term girl-friend
Shot him after an argument
At Slug’s Saloon, a New York club
Where his band had been playing
His injuries might not have been fatal
But the ambulance was delayed
By bad driving conditions following snow
And Lee bled to death
On such twists of fate do we live or die
Bryn Fortey  

Of course, I have to start with Ahmad Jamal's "But Not for Me":

Lunice and the Jealous Guys is more hiphop than jazz, but I have to post a song like "Bus Stop Jazz."

I also have to post Guru's "Transit Ride" with old old footage from the NYC subway:
Branford Marsalis plays both alto and soprano saxophone on this song.

Thank you for your patience with me.  Here is Tommy McCook's "Jazz Walking."

I'll finish with "Walkin'" with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Billy Cobham.  Not only is it real jazz as one of the YouTube commenters says but it also sets a rapid pace!

I realize that I should include some music by Earl Hooker, especially since Bryn has introduced him to The Song Is...

Let's start with "Earl's Boogie":

Here is his "End of the Blues":

"Sky is Crying" has Johnny Walker on vocals:

I'll include a couple more links to Lee Morgan's music.

I don't think I've posted his hit "The Sidewinder":

I'll finish with his "Search for the New Land":

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Welcome to Michael Marrotti (Explicit Language)

Tonight, after the end of a grueling semester, I would like to (finally!) post the work of Michael Marrotti, a  Pittsburgh poet.  Open mics can be frustrating.  The picture above is from an article that lists Pittsburgh as one of the best places to retire to (in Pennsylvania).

'Pittsburgh Culture'

   I walked up on stage like I was a nobody amongst a timid crowd, who would have had an orgasm after a single touch. The spotlight was beaming on me, the guy who traveled from Andy Warhol's old neighborhood to recite a few pieces of poetry.
   The first stanza mentioned a vagina, you know, the kind certain woman share with the social media world via Tumblr or snap chat. They appeared to be nervous. I shifted the position of my ass in the wooden chair to begin the second stanza.
   This one mentioned chlamydia, you know, the sexually transmitted disease most of the millennials carry around like an iPhone. I took a look at the crowd after that to see giant eyeballs, taken aback, like I was reciting Anti-Semitic literature, after they snorted an Adderall.
   There's no turning back now, so I continued onto the last stanza. It mentioned an orgasm, you know, the kind we all had before this waste of time, also known as the Open Mic. Where people come to share their art with an uptight crowd. The same people who belittle Trump every chance they get, but then emulate Mother Teresa, 'cause that's the type of behavior that exists in this pseudo-liberal town of Pittsburgh.
   I was banned after that night for enticing people to think about their own obscene actions. Christ, if I wanted to be upset, I could've stopped at my mom's house. It's less of a walk, and the vodka flows like the Allegheny river.

'The Great Fire Of Pittsburgh'

I have a smile
in the form
of a pill

Misery falls
from the sky
the perpetuity
of indecent

I have a brain
that will not
telling me
to do things
that'll make
no difference

My fellow man
is no friend
of mine
only out
for his
best interest

I've tried
in the past
and failed
to be

They have
all my actions

I'm plagued
by negative
it's their
course of
it's what
they do

the point
where I
this endeavor

My primary
this waste
of time

I no longer
see a point
in speaking
these words
critical thinking
does not exist

I wanna plant
this bomb
like a delicate

I wanna play
the fiddle
like Nero
and watch
them burn

'Pittsburgh Poetry Slam'

I've had plenty
of instances
that drove me
to the point of no
turning back

The love
of my life
condemned me
to exile and self
induced orgasms
I put the blade
to my wrist
yet miraculously
chose to move on

My job and my car
were both lost
in a single sitting
Left with no options
I moved back in
with my alcoholic mom
which is equivalent
to blowing my
brains out
Somehow I survived

The cops brutally
beat me
then charged me
with a felony
The trepidation of
a possible jail
sentence adding
up to several
unlucky years
can do a number
on your mental health
Suicidal tendencies
I lived to walk the streets

If for some odd reason
I ever end up at the
Pittsburgh poetry slam
over on the east side
just one more
motherfucking time
I guarantee you
as sure as I'm writing here
it'll be the last time
you ever read a new post
by this unpopular
Pittsburgh poet

Surviving that twice
is a miracle to itself
My perseverance
still hasn't made
a comeback after
those excruciating
hours of broken words

Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh, using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work, please check out his book, F.D.A. Approved Poetry, available at Amazon.

I've picked out some Albert Ayler to play with these poems.  Ayler, by the way, was born in 1936.

"Witches and Devils" is next:

This is "Truth is Marching In":

I'll finish with his "For John Coltrane":

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Allyson Lima's "Lions and Tigers"

Tonight, to celebrate the end of classes and the beginning of exam week, I'd like to post fellow Montgomery College professor Allyson Lima's poem, "D.C. Desert Dreams, After Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy."

D.C.  Desert Dreams
After Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy

In the tiger-striped night

amber lamplight pulses

through leafy shadows

swaying watery images

on the night wall.

One eye wakes to see me sleep

transformed, a hunk of tiger,

my curled hand

a heavy-padded paw

to tread my desert dreams.

By Allyson Lima

Tonight I'll play a little Django Reinhardt, starting with "Minor Swing":

Here he plays "After You've Gone":

I'll finish with "La Mer":

Back to work for me!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Glen Armstrong Enters the 1930s Contest!

The other day I was very pleased to receive two poems from Glen Armstrong for the 1930s contest.  Technically speaking, James Brown was not a jazz musician, but I am happy to include him and Glen's poem this evening.

Living at the Apollo

I am James Brown
and his Famous Flames
if strangers would just listen
as I pass them on the street

they would learn new dance steps
they would gather under-
things and flowers
to toss my way

once I have spilled
upon the sidewalk my entire heart
they would wrap my cape
around me and walk me home.

As I mentioned to Glen, if I receive ten good poems about Ornette Coleman, I will print them all.  Tonight here is one very good poem!

Requiem for Ornette Coleman

If tempted to question or explain that scattered song reaching out in every direction, sit for a moment and listen.

The sigh and the holler are one.

Futility. Love. Initiation. (Damn those recurring white sheets.) Installation. Of lightning. Of trouble. Of staves into paper. Strength in the face of weariness.

Genres and best-of’s fall short.

This sort of blues contains no sort of. More committed than the clock is to ticking, the heart to pulsing. The wave washes over the mechanism.

One must stare the juxtaposition down to understand America: the rat sniff rose / the soaring footprint / the bardic o well / Omerica / free of home / Ohm’s law calculated to points unknown.

Let's finish with some music.  Since it's Christmas, let's start with one of James Brown's seasonal songs "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto":

This version of "It's a Man's World" is *live*:

"I Got the Feelin'" is live at the Apollo:

Also live is this version of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman":

On "Buddha Blues" Coleman plays the suona, a Chinese instrument that resembles the oboe.

I'll finish with his "Free" from Change of the Century:

I hope that you'll consider entering the contests!  For more information, see this link:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Congratulations to the Winners of the Spring/Summer 2016 Contests!

Finally, I am ready to post the winners of the Spring/Summer 2016 contests at The Song Is...

First of all, I'd like to thank the judges--Catfish McDaris and Lynne S. Viti--for their hard work, diligence, and quick turnaround.  I am honored and thrilled that they were both able to help me out during this crazy semester.  (Any slowness is definitely mine.)

Now let's start with Thelma's Prize.  Lynne judged one set of poems and chose Bill Cushing's “Music isn’t about standing still and being safe," a poem celebrating Miles Davis, as the winner.  While noting her choice, Lynne added: "In a flowing word- stream , repeatedly working the dual meaning of 'Miles,' the poet blends  images of  Davis' music with the speaker's past and present. Vivid images of  the Davis memorial by the St. John's River, of the speaker's lifelong romance with the artistry of Miles Davis. Poetry informed and infused by the music, told in a strong personal voice."  I agree that this was a wonderful choice!  Tad Richards'  "fantasical and surreal, seductive and fun" "In a Dream, She Sees Lester Young Standing Naked" and John McDonald's Haiku and Haibun received honorable mentions.  Lynne commented on John's work: "The first set of McDonald's are infused with the sounds and smells of Afghanistan, conveyed vividly  through a solider's memories of the war in Helmand. The haiku pivot the reader to music-infused images of family and home, Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan."

Catfish handled the other set of poems as well as the contests for work inspired by jazz musicians born in the 1920s and by Latin culture.  His choice for Thelma's Prize was Amber Smithers' "Thoughts On Being a Black Girl," a poem that he considered very moving.  He also singled out for praise Alex Conrad's "Observing Myself," Chani Zwibel's "Please Remember," and Sergio Ortiz' "Yellow Flowers."   Tad Richards won the 1920s Prize for his poem "With Miles"  Catfish praised Tad's and Amber's poems quite highly.  Also receiving honorable mentions were  Bryn Fortey's "Ellas McDaniel" and John McDonald's Haiku.  Sergio Ortiz won the prize for poems inspired by Latin culture for "Requiem for Mercedes Sosa."   His "Yellow Flowers" and Kerfe Roig's "jaguar/le tigre" earned honorable mentions.

Bola Ade's poetry won the prize for local writers.  As Lynne remarked to me, "so for the Local Contest, the winner is  Bola Ade, no question. Bola's poetry is passionate, political, sometimes raw, but always a compelling fusion of words, images and emotions. It certainly calls for reading aloud.  The blending of prose and everyday speech and the rarefied and poetic language make the reader sit up and take notice. I found "Hotep sh*t"  the most powerful and polished of this intriguing set of poems."  I have to admit that "Hotep sh*t" was my favorite, too.

I'll finish with the winner of Callie's Prize for visual elements.  It's a tie between Kerfe Roig for her masks and Juan Tituana for his images of Corpus Christi.

Congratulations to everyone!  I am looking forward to a wonderful fall/winter contest as well.

Given Bill's poem, I am going to start off with some Miles.  Let's listen to "Green Dolphin Street":

Here is an alternative take of "Black Comedy" from Miles in the Sky:

I have to include Lester Young.  Here is a link to a longish video of various jam sessions with Young and other artists such as Count Basie, Jo Jones, and others.  Not sure who is singing "On the Sunny Side of the Street," though.

If you'd rather have something short, here is Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio on "Almost Like Being in Love":

I'll finish with Mercedes Sosa.
Here is her "Solo le Pido a Dios":

This is "Thanks to Life":

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bryn Fortey Enters Both Contests

Recently jazz poet Bryn Fortey sent me poems for both of my winter/spring contests: poems about not driving and poems inspired by jazz musicians born in the 1930s.  I'm always pleased to meet another non-driver, and I hope to meet a few more by January.


DRIVE by James Sallis
Is permanently in my top ten novels
Sparse, pared back, no padding
I admire the writing
Even though the title is not  
Part of my personal vocabulary 


When other teens were
Working on worn out old bangers
Head stuck under a rusting hood
Happily covered in oil and muck
I was
Having a smoke
A glass of beer
Trying to chat up
The new girl on the block

I have never had any interest in cars
Or any wish to drive one

I took lessons once
At an employer’s insistence
But they just showed me firsthand
How many idiots drove cars
And confirmed what I knew
That it wasn’t for me

There have been times in my life when
A license might have been handy
But I’ve made it
Got by
All the way to old age
Without one

With one
My level of incompetence
Might have seen me dead years ago

Swings and roundabouts my friend
Any chance of a lift?

Bryn Fortey

Bryn has also found Joanne Brackeen, a jazz pianist born in the 1930s.  He has promised a few other discoveries...or rediscoveries for us.

(Born Ventura, California, July 26, 1938)

Largely self-taught
Though with some formal training
Her involvement with popular piano styles was shattered
The moment she first heard Charlie Parker and bebop became
Her musical language of choice

New York soon beckoned
And her eloquent yet dynamic playing
Saw her mix in good company
A spell with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers
Was followed by employment with saxophonists
Joe Henderson and Stan Getz

Leading a series of trios and performing solo
To great critical acclaim
She combined the bringing up of her four children
With the precarious career of a jazz musician

Influenced by such piano luminaries as
Bill Evans and Chick Corea
She nevertheless developed a personal style
Recognized and admired
For both her playing and composition
Also known as an educator
Being a professor at two colleges

In spite of passing years
Brackeen has remained an important innovator
A force to be reckoned with
In the history of the piano in jazz

Bryn Fortey

Here is Joanne Brackeen, playing her original composition "Haiti B":

She and Joe Henderson are performing "Relaxing at Camarillo":  This video is from 1986.

This is her "Manha de Carnaval," which sounds quite familiar:

I'll finish with a video of her playing in the Cologne subway as part of the Tony Iakatos Quartet:

If you would like to know more about the winter/spring contests, see this link:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Return to Haibun

In The Infield Was Patty Peccavi by Edward and Nancy Kienholz; metal, resin, cloth, wood, glass, paper, photomechanical reproduction, electric lights, stuffed bird and paint (1981, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)

This evening I would like to return to haibun with India's Pranav Kodial and, of course, Angelee Deodhar.  The images with Pranav's haibun are by Angelee.

Has it been a while?  It seems like a while!


I stumble across my semi dark room, fumbling frantically for the light switch. I notice a rectangular shape on the wall and having switched it on, relax. They say events may trigger but don't actually cause depression. They say chemical imbalances in the brain may cause depression, maybe it's genetic, it’s because of lack of sunlight.
They say maybe—

closed door...
is there light
on the other side?


Ten. Hundred. Thousand. He moves through the sea of people, laughing, shaking hands, exchanging hugs and pleasantries. Finally he reaches the door. I watch him. And smile. Then I watch him. And cry. Once him. Once him…

from a mound of rice  the black grain tumbles  away

Bio : Dr. Pranav Kodial is an Indian ophthalmologist with a love for the Arts. In addition to haiku and other forms of poetry, he writes short stories and has recently completed a novel. He has also written and acted in plays, and sung in light classical music programs. He lives with his anesthesiologist wife and two children in Dahanu, Maharashtra.

For those of us in the US, Thanksgiving is coming.  Angelee Deodhar just sent me a haibun for that holiday.

Haibun: Reprieve

November 26th is a special day for two lucky turkeys who get to meet POTUS at a special ceremony held at the Rose Garden of the White House where they are “officially pardoned” and do not end up on the Thanksgiving table.

The turkeys live a spoiled life style and are kept in a special pen. The radio is played for them all day long. They listen to Vivaldi and John Mayer intermittently. Once they arrive in Washington they are put up in the Willard Hotel, and meet the press before being taken to the White House.

Afterwards they live the rest of their short lives at the historic Virginia residence, Morven Park .

The official "pardoning" of presidential turkeys probably started with President Lincoln's 1863 clemency to a turkey ,when “a live turkey had been brought home for the Christmas dinner, but Lincoln’s son ,Tad interceded in behalf of its life … and the turkey’s life was spared.”

the birds have left
the chopped down pines-
evening’s red leaves

                          - Issa 

Painting Still Life with Suspended Turkey (Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, French painter b. 1699, Paris, d. 1779, Paris oil on canvas))

Angelee sent me some music for this haibun to give you an idea of what the reprieved turkeys were listening to.

John Mayer Greatest Hits Collection HD HQ
Vivaldi: Mandolin and Lute Concertos [L'Arte dell'Arco - F.Guglielmo]

My husband and I were listening to some Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah this evening, so I'll post a version of his "Twin."  As it turns out, CSaA is an identical twin.

I'll finish off with one of CSaA's political pieces:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome to A.S. Coomer!

It's always good to welcome poets to The Song Is..., and tonight I'm welcoming A.S. Coomer, a poet/ novelist/musician from Kentucky by way of Ohio.

I, too, See a Darkness
by A.S. Coomer

I’ve got these Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Sundays
& sometimes it really is Sunday morning coming down
wishing like hell that I was stoned;
head hollow feeling like a burnt out oil drum,
cold creeping in through windows older
and even more frail than me,
jaw creaks then pops shifting head again,
the tract skipping a peg then righting itself.
Got the cracked blinds open
beaconing what meager sunlight
--spring seems held somewhere close at hand but wholly at bay--
to come on in and sit a spell.
There’s plenty of things missing
and I tend to dwell on these
but today, shaky & in bad need of strong coffee,
I’m doing my best
to focus on the pieces that’ve fallen into place
or, at least, spots vacant enough
to give the semblance of good fit.

When I sing
by A.S. Coomer

When I sing
you can almost hear the indecision
in my voice,
the lack of confidence
quakes, trembles like shaking children
fresh out of the creek dripping, a spring swim
too early, over eager, but irresistible.
The recordings, scratchy, fuzz-filled,
highlight this, some blinking red arrow
pointing out flaws, calling
“Hey, this is trepidation. This is
what it looks like.”
And when the last note rings out,
you’re thankful for the silence
but not as much as me.

With the end of the song
comes the beginning of the loop,
wrapping itself back around,
sweeping me off my feet,
back into my head, that place I live most,
where I’m almost fully awake,
there the melodies are alive
and fluttering only to come out dead
when the pen finds the hand and the pages are spent.
Why do I do this to myself?

There’s an inherent beauty
in nearly every-damn-thing.
The sun filtering in through the cat-cracked blinds,
the first cup of coffee--or the sixth--
and the opening chords of that rainy day record,
the one you haven’t stopping spinning since
picking it up used just after high school;
they’re all shining here. Glittering in a way
that never loses luster. Calling out to me.
Begging me to share. Whispering that these
haven’t been done yet. These words haven’t been sung.
These chords haven’t been pick-struck or finger-plucked.
And here we are: middle-circle, a handful of songs,
swaying and frayed and wonderfully mistaken,
but singing. Please, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Skeleton Keys
by A.S. Coomer

I woke up this morning,
saw the roses dancing
in the breeze;
thought about three notes
on the piano--black & white
skeleton keys--and knew
the world was so beautiful
I could just kill myself.

I’m not sure how I feel about the sound
by A.S. Coomer

Can’t no one love you better than I did.
All these years, all those nights bright with fulfilled longing,
captured desire and twisted sheets,
to the teeth with a big fat love,
bursting at the seams, dripping with it,
slicker than any back country road post summer downpour,
juicier than any peach you’ve tasted.
Now, it’s just a picture of a picture of the thing.

The train whistle’s blowing,
blowing right by our house
--what used to be our house--
it used to make you snuggle closer,
something so lonesome in the cry, I guess.
Well, I was always just glad it was crying,
seemed like somebody somewhere had to be,
that’s what my grandmother always said.
And the result...

Now that you’re gone
even the coffee pot don’t look right,
sitting cockeyed on the counter,
beached by grains of staled, clumpy sugar and sticky spots
where I spilled the milk.

Baby, I don’t even know why I bother to pay the electric bill;
I keep all the lights off now,
now that you’re gone. Don’t see the point
in seeing the spaces were you ain’t, cos, baby, you ain’t.

And I remember sitting in that backroom down at the bar,
swaying to the slide guitar and the gentle finger picking,
putting them away with you
--baby, we could really put ‘em away, couldn’t we?--
and, with an arm draped around your shoulders,
I swore I would never write a song like that
(I swore I’d never write a song like this),
the troubadour up there tellin’ the story, his story;
one you’ve heard a hundred times if you’ve heard it once,
but hearin’ him you knew it true all the same
and you couldn’t help but move along,
just some unaware passenger picked up and carried off by the flash flood,
the rising waters of it, of it all, each of us dripping,
swimming in our own way,
because either you swim or you drown,
and we laughed. Sure, we knew I’d never write that song,
a song like that--like this--because I wouldn’t have to,
because you would always be here,
because we would always be together.

Hear that?
Train’s comin’ on down the line
and for the first time in my life,
I’m not sure how I feel about the sound.
A.S. Coomer is a native Kentuckian serving out a purgatorial existence somewhere in the Midwest. His work has appeared in over thirty publications. He’s got a handful of novels that need good homes. You can find him at He also runs a “record label” for poetry: He writes and plays sad folk songs to (mostly) empty bars. Listen to some home demos:

Of course, I have to post "Sunday Morning Coming Down":

Gene Clark's "Lonely Saturday" fits here, too.

His "In a Misty Morning" is also going through my head:

I'll move on to Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden's "Beyond the Missouri Sky" and "Spiritual":

Silence is a good place to end: