Friday, June 30, 2017

Welcome to Douglas Malan and a tribute to Geri Allen

Recently I held a contest for poems and prose about not driving.  Tonight I'd like to post Douglas Malan's poem about aggressive driving, a subject we know all too well these days.  This poem is set in November, but it is still very timely!

Hateful Waterbug Hurtling Beyond
In somber mist tickling a cool November morning,
I cruise serenely past charcoal trees bleeding out
the last ounces of autumn colors
and dip my brain into the spaces of a Coltrane album
to feel, and not plan.

Meditation comes in unexpected spurts
along the open road. 
Thoughts spray and disperse like droplets disturbed by
the smooth violence of high-speed radial engineering.
The morning is mine – quiet and malleable.

Until herky-jerky swerving
glossy black smear of an SUV
in my rearview mirror
derails the glorious disconnected groove and
puts me on alert—tense, defensive, vigilant.
Hands flying off the wheel, electrified and irritated,
damning glares shot from eyes hot with despise,
burning through the scowl,
the driver of the luxury nameplate presses incessantly
through a vehicular slalom.
No regard for break-neck ramifications.
No concern for the peril of impatience.

This person
probably refuses to park near commoners’ cars
at risk of too much ‘regular’ rubbing off
on European-designed superiority,
yet never hesitates to drive 70 miles per hour
five feet from my bumper;
whipping out to the passing lane,
slapping me in the face
with a well-positioned bumper sticker that advises:
“Human dignity is reverence for self and all others.”

-- Douglas Malan

Recently the pianist Geri Allen died, so I am going to post some of her music as a tribute to her.  

Her "I'm All Smiles" with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian is a bit ironic, but let's start here:

"Wanna Be Startin' Something"  is probably more appropriate:

I like the title "In The Year of the Dragon":

Let's finish with her "Feed the Fire" from 1994:

Felino A. Soriano also wrote a poem inspired by her music during the women in music contest:

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