Sunday, October 30, 2016

Claudine Nash's "That True Voice" and "Talk Radio"

At the end of a weekend spent grading papers, I'd like to post Claudine Nash's wonderful poems, both of which appeared in her recent full-length poetry book Parts Per Trillion, which is available through Aldrich Press.  The first is "That True Voice."  This poem is for the early risers who persevere despite late sunrise, cold, and fog.

“That True Voice”

It stirs upon waking,
a hypnopompic hallucination
of a song heard
from a distance by muscles
not ears. Always,
it’s moving,

scattering about one’s body
before its lyrics can be
fully known.

For that first hour each morning,
before the household rises,
before the tasks of rushing and
receiving the hoarse sounds
of the day’s business, before
it can be out-sung by
those cold opinions from
without and within,

it hums in hopeful

this self that is trying
not just to live,
that true voice
that dares to thrive.

The next poem is for those of us who still listen to music even if it is "only" on YouTube.  

“Talk Radio”

Music affects me in ways you
wouldn’t understand. I think “I
feel fine today. Nothing seems
amiss.” But then a singer-songwriter
recaps the story of his shattered
heart and I sink when he gets to
the verse about smoking too many
cigarettes while waiting for the
ache to lift. Right there on the
interstate in between exits, I think
“he’s moved the sorrow nobody
sees, he’s named the grief I carry
in secret.” Then I regroup at the
commercial break and it
strikes me that you probably
don’t get any of this because

you only ever listen to talk radio.


Claudine Nash’s collections include her full-length poetry book Parts per Trillion (Aldrich Press, 2016) and her chapbook The Problem with Loving Ghosts  (Finishing Line Press, 2014). She also recently edited the collection  In So Many Words: Interviews and Poetry from Today’s Poets (Madness Muse Press, 2016) with Adam Levon Brown.  Her poems have won prizes from Avalon Literary Review, Eye on Life Magazine, Lady Chaos Press, and The Song Is… and have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Cloudbank, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and Yellow Chair Review amongst others. She also has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is a practicing psychologist. Website:

I know I want to post a link to Ahmad Jamal's "Saturday Morning."  He is another jazz musician born in the 1930s, so I encourage you to listen to his music and write!

Here is his "I'll Always Be With You," also from his recent CD Saturday Morning:

His "Morning Mist" is from Blue Moon:

"Autumn Rain" is a little different:

I'll finish with some songs from the Roy Assaf Trio whom my husband and I saw recently.  They are amazing!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

She Took Off Her Dress -- Poetry by Tad Richards & Pictures by Nancy Ostrovsky

Lately Tad Richards sent me the following note:

On the weekend of October 29-30, the Gallery at Opus 40 will host an exhibit of drawings by Nancy Ostrovsky from the book that she and I collaborated on, "She Took Off Her Dress," poems by Tad Richards, drawings by Nancy.

On October 30, at 4 pm, there will be a joint performance: poetry reading by Tad, action drawing to the poems by Nancy. She is noted for her action painting and drawing to jazz, and has performed at jazz festivals in this country and abroad. He is a widely published poet in journals and anthologies.

For more information about the Gallery at Opus 40, see this link:

From the book:


She took off her dress
she stayed for an
indeterminate time
she faded
into a dense fog

he heard a sigh
perhaps it was a sob
then the swish
and slap of water
against pilings

that was the last of it
an old man
heard from a distance
the swish and slap of love

on a night
when the waves were him
and the pilings
were always his wife
in life it

had not always been
and all sounded
alike but when the fog
it was to her form


1. Sex With Poets

Begin with simple tunes, Gregorian
chants, minstrelsy, fluid
over a pleasing drone;
start listening for
familiar motifs.
you’ll warm to it.
It will set the tone for later.

2. Sex Among Poets

Playing more than one melody
line at the same time, we had to invent
rhythm. We sang parts:
“We are five young and
pretty shepherdesses,
who skip over the hillside
playing our bagpipes.”

3. Sex Without Poets

Women drink free
for the first hour –
bar shots only.
Music’s on CD,
not the best stuff.
You remember how he wrote it.
Etude for two pianos,
it bloated to a symphony.
eighty two pieces.
Too big. You asked him,
“What about the pianos?” and he
wrote one back in: concerto
for piano and orchestra.
Too noisy in here
for etudes anyway.
Piano and strings
trade crescendos,
ever briefer;
someone puts a hand on your thigh.

I wish I hadn't posted so many videos of Tommy Flanagan last time.  Let's try someone else this time around.

Walter Davis is another pianist born during the 1930s.  As his Wikipedia page points out, "Davis was known as an interpreter of the music of Bud Powell,[1] but also recorded an album capturing the compositional and piano style of Thelonious Monk."  So let's have a listen!

Here is his medley of Monk from 1986.  It was recorded in Washington, DC.  The name of the club is not listed.

This is his "A Son of Bud (Powell)."

Davis' quartet plays "Be My Love":

Here he plays with Dizzy Gillespie and Milt Jackson:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Welcome to Ndaba Sibanda

Photograph by Cpl. Jad Sleiman, US Marine Corps

This evening I would like to post some prose and poetry by Ndaba Sibanda, a writer from Zimbabwe who is now based in Saudi Arabia.  Welcome!  Mr. Sibanda has something for everyone.

Friendly Wars

Ever since his appointment to the lofty position of defense minister, he seemed to be gripped by some phobia. Some residents claimed the irrational fear stemmed from the possibility that he did not know what he was expected to do. Others thought that he was a lucky coward who found himself having to oversee a strategic security portfolio which he did not deserve or understand.

Mr. Gubuzela `s political history was not well-known in the country except for the controversial claims he made each time he had an opportunity about his heroic past during the liberation war.  Not only were the citizens unconvinced about his war liberation credentials , they were also skeptical of his ability to turn around the national army into a truly professional , patriotic and non-partisan force that could be the envy of  the region, if not the continent . It had committed untold atrocities in the country and beyond national boundaries.

He was once labelled a “Wild Useless Claimant” by a no-nonsense newspaper when he claimed that all the country`s political and economic woes were visited upon the nation by the “stubborn” opposition leaders, the ruling party`s detractors and their Western allies.  What was a known fact was that he was a shameless bootlicker who heaped praises upon the ruining leadership with sickening frequency and subservience.   It was no secret  that was a Grade Two primary school dropout who had endeared himself to the leadership by worshipping them at every rally or meeting , and terrorizing any soul who challenged the big wig`s bigotry and destructive policies at every conceivable corner.

Then one day one foreign journalist decided to ask him one general question. “Sir, please shed light on what you are doing or intend doing as minister of defense to keep soldiers fit?”
He was clad in his civilian clothes in the form of dazzling yellow socks, white shoes, a red pair of baggy trousers, a green T-shirt, and a dark and blue, deeply cupped hat that seemed to bury his head and obstruct his view of the world. With exaggerated steadiness, he cleared his throat and said, “Soon l will start some friendly wars with neighboring countries”.

Malleable Prospect

let us reminisce
and romance

let us rekindle
those fires

of yesteryear
of heart and heat

let us boldly board
a recollection bus

of positive events
of past actions

let us live ‘n love
in the present

no matter
how different

because it is all
we can correct

and curve
into our future

Intoxicating Songs and Sights

I just like to stray into the forest each time l visit the countryside
How I like to immerse myself into its thickness and feel the
awesomeness of Mother Nature surge into my veins

The proximity to a life undiluted intoxicates my spirits
I heed the birds' advice as they sing their happy
harmonies in their charming and chirping ways

Their serenading expertly makes love to my eardrums
I can't tell you how the creepy reptiles wow me
to no end as they wiggle and jiggle in their
amazing fashion to their hazy habitats

I marvel at the beauty of vegetation
and condemn deforestation
in the strongest possible

Ndaba Sibanda  has also contributed to the following literary projects: It`s TimeFree Fall and Windows In The SkyNdaba’s  poems, essays and short stories have been featured in many and various  journals and magazines like: The Piker Press,  Bricolage, The Dying Goose, Lost Coast Review, Magazine ,Whispering Prairie Press, Saraba Magazine,, Jungle Jim, Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine ,The Metric, Unlikely Stories, Santa Fe Writers Project - SFWP Journal, Elohi Gadugi  Journal, The Subterranean Quarterly, Miracle , Red Bird Chapbooks ,The Joker,  Florida Flash, Fjords Review, storySouth, Annapurna Magazine, Festival Of Language, quiet Shorts, The African Street Writer, Poetry, Books Live , Whispers and  Poetrysoup .
Sibanda received a Starry Night ART School scholarship in 2015.

I'm surprised that it's taken me this long to post some music by Tommy Flanagan this season, but here it is.

Flanagan also appeared on Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus.  Let's listen to "St. Thomas."

I know I've posted a number of different versions of "Caravan," but here is Flanagan's:

I'll finish with his "Autumn Leaves," so fitting now:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Welcome to Nicole Surginer and Carl Scharwath

copyright -- Carl Scharwath

One of the most rewarding things about "curating" this blog-zine is bringing poetry together with visual images and/or music.  Tonight I would like to post the collaboration of poet Nicole Surginer and photographer Carl Scharwath (who is a poet as well).  Carl's photograph above is paired with Nicole's poem "Bound" below.


Endlessly I roamed lands 
foreign to my tattered feet
to flee the resonance of you
Plaguing the song of my sky
Yet the maps of stars led
me relentlessly back to this
place where now only shells
of home lie in desolate grey
I am drawn to linger evermore 
Where the story of our love
gleams from effulgent cloud
Memories warming light seeps
through the branches of trees 
rooted of our immortal adoration 
The featherings of your energy
invade my wavelengths feeding my
starving soul as I breathe the taste
of your heat into my every cell
Though I had vanquished all thought
of you urgently away into the 
crevices of my heart to silence the
lure of longings echoing call
Still I heard the weeping of desire
Leeching through my vessels 
For I am bound to you as the soil to
this very earth and that which is

sealed of soul shall not be severed 

Copyright -- Carl Scharwath
Model -- Jennifer Fernald


I run my hands across the stone
that I may feel the essence of you
pulsing warmth through my veins
My ears burn with the longing
for your voice yet I hear my
truths in the absence of words.
They lie amongst the remnants of
my brokenness on faltering ground
The portrait of us painted in the
ink of empty promise shattered
and cast into desecrated earth
In this place that is grey and barren
the dampness of cold strains my breath
The ravishings of loneliness clutch my
pallid face within her crushing fingers
I strain to see beyond the fragmented
shadow of you clinging to the remnants
of brick that once bonded our love
Where I once dreamed and lived in you
I stood breathless as my foundation
crumbled and I was laid bare and alone
Cast away as rubble to smolder in ash
as my heart crumpled within my chest

Nicole Surginer, is a poet from the small town of Bastrop,Texas. She is inspired to write by her love for nature's enchantment, a fascination with the power of raw, intense emotion and a desire to create beauty with words. She has been published in Tuck Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Indiana Voice Journal, Tuck Magazine, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Sick Lit Magazine with pending publications in the Contemporary Poet's group anthology "Dandelion in a vase of roses."

Carl Scharwath, has appeared globally with 80+ magazines selecting his poetry, short stories, essays or art photography. He won the National Poetry Contest award for Writers One Flight Up. His first poetry book is 'Journey To Become Forgotten' (Kind of a Hurricane Press). Carl is a dedicated runner ("that's where his art ideas spring from.”)

I'm looking for some collaborations.  Of course, all music (except for solo performances) is a collaboration.  I'll start by returning to Ran Blake and Jeanne Lee.  This time I'm posting their version of "Ticket to Ride":  "Ticket to Ride" is, of course, a song by Lennon and McCartney.

Later she sang with Mal Waldron:

"Quiet Temple" is listed as a collaboration between Mal Waldron and Barney Wilen:

Here is Jeanne Lee and Mal Waldron's version of "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," a collaboration between Charles Mingus and Joni Mitchell:

Jeanne Lee and Ran Blake are jazz musicians born in the 1930s, by the way.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Will Mayo Starts off Fall/Winter 2016/7 at The Song Is...

Let's start off the fall/winter poems and flash fiction with some work from Will Mayo.

Long Tail Of The Lynx


Will Mayo

Almost without sound, he moves through tall grass and tangled shrub, past the mossy stone and the cobblestone walks onto the yards of the suburban oases. Mice and other small animals scatter before his path for he is a wild creature not reckoned for the gentle touch. He hunts his prey and then dines alone, not being known to share his company among the brethren of the night. He is without peer in the kingdom of hunger, or so he thinks to himself, as even animals of the flesh are known to entertain a passing thought in the silences between death and departure.

Yet when he sees the huddled figure amongst the garbage cans he bristles not a single hair and bows his head in honor. For though his claws are long and his teeth are sharp he knows a kindred soul when he sees one. He purrs deep in his throat and rubs gently against the stranger as a man might shake hands with a friend after the journey complete. Together, they walk down alleyway and shadowed street, alone in the long neon night, two fellow wanderers of the dark, caught up momentarily in some passing dream. Soon they will part ways, each going his separate path, but for now they share a loneliness that only the wild things of this world can know. The footsteps echo through the city like so much noise and then fade away.

    Flickering Moments


Will Mayo
    There is some debate as to whether time is in motion or merely appears to be so like a series of photographs run quickly through a projector to make a movie. But, to me, it all comes down to a series of moments, an old man laughing, the smile on a young girl's face, fireflies flickering in the glass on a hot summer's night...



    Will Mayo

    Once I thought of time as being an endless journey, a road from place to place. Then I saw it as a series of moments, of photographs even, run through a projector beaming its light onto a screen of nonbeing. But now at last I see clearly. It is one photograph, not several, and we are all there, all of whom we call our pasts, our presents, our futures. Together. Only there's the frame, you see. It's terribly broken beyond repair. Yet we pretend and keep on pretending. Keep on living.

    Worlds Without End. Amen.”


    Will Mayo

    God, it is said, created the world in six days,
    rested on the seventh.
    His world in turn was created in nine.
    And before that in twos and threes
    and endless combinations thereof.
    As far as myself, here I sit,
    in a small spare room
    writing a few simple words.
    Who knows what worlds I will create?
    Novels, poems, or perhaps
    the flesh of an old forgotten word?
    My pen scribbles still.

      Matters Of Faith


    Will Mayo
      Yet one day I was being admitted to the hospital for one of my many minor afflictions when the nurse asked me if I had any religious preferences.
      "Why, yes," I replied. "Druid. I'm a druid. Just that it's getting harder and harder to find a virgin for one of those sacrifices, virgins being few and far between these days, you know?"
      She too looked at me one long minute then walked away.

        Photograph by Pensiero Laterale -- 2006



Will Mayo

I asked her to take off her clothes. She took off mine instead. I asked her to make love to me. Helpless, I watched her make love to the night.

When the thunder rolled in I knew that things had just begun. That was the night all the lights went out and the power came on inside our hearts. The current was alive with lightning and we simply wondered at it all.

Some of these pieces are more summer pieces than fall...especially mid-fall, but perhaps we will have some more warm weather.  I'll try to bring the fall in with some music.
Here is Joshua Redman and Pat Metheny's version of Ornette Coleman's "Turnaround":
        I'm not sure if I've posted Charlie Haden's "Blues for Pat" yet:
        In this video of "As Wichita Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls," we have a preview of winter:
        Here is the Pat Metheny Group's "To the End of the World":
        Even though that was the end of the world, I'll finish with "The Truth Will Always Be":