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: