Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Leslie McKay, Julie Naslund, and Indunil Madhusankha!

Tonight's entry features a variety of poets and styles.  I'd like to start with New Zealand poet Leslie McKay's "Louis Armstrong's Wink," a poem inspired by her mother's seeing him perform in Christchurch in the 1950s.

Louis Armstrong's Wink

She kept Louis Armstrong's wink in her evening bag
for her Child to employ and grew fountains
of wisteria and magnolias the world came to see

When Child waltzed off a flight from New Orleans scatting
and singing, She exhaled a long, slow breath before 
the swagger of youth and forecast a summer of mayhem 

Wearing her father's empty gun belt slung around her hips
Child followed her rhythm downtown, to find the dark blue music
she heard through half open window panes, above old veranda's
knocked on doors, until she found the accomplices she craved

When they jammed, her hungry face was light
her voice a liquid instrument, a thousand years deep
in her eyes, a cache of dreams on hold, as day imposed

On a rare night of solitude, She watched a magnolia bud unfurl
sat in wonder, breathing nectar, until the morning tide brought Child
hand in hand with her new Italian scholar of the universe love
who waved a divining wand as he smiled and said the nectar 
would ebb and flow until She's resistance ceased

As the intelligence arced and whirled She left for the botanical realm
from the green depths, heard Child singing Summertime
found her by the lily pond where lazy goldfish blew 
where Child said ache in her was love, her voice a mystery 
driving her further from the garden that aligned her

And She said the root of the world was the adult blues 
in the dancing of summer, burning inside her
as she cut Child a stem of wisteria

She was born quiet, she often craved silence to a holy degree
but the murmuring dreams of plants kept her real
Child's recklessness didn't become her, it drove She insane
but her voice was a pearl of the sonic world

and below the wisteria vine, their colliding rhythms swayed

Leslie and Julie Naslund have also sent me a rengay inspired by the music of John Coltrane.

like telepathy

which direction ?
begin in the middle
and go both ways  J

still they salute him
no-one could catch trane  L

aural meditation
from the well of the heart
a love supreme    J

a pure state
moment to moment
only one instrument L

beyond the saxophone
a new cultural landscape  J

like telepathy
a strong rapport
with inner history   L

Above is a picture of a service at the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco.  (Thank you, Martin Willitts, Jr., for telling me about this church.)  Freimut Bahlo is the photographer.

I'd like to add Sri Lankan poet Indunil Madhusankha's poem.  (Thank you for your patience!)

Autobiography of the Poet

 I am the poet
 carrying a luggage of roles
 all of which I play with equal interest

 I am the talkative lover
 who knocks on the door of your heart
 and having entered,
 bursts into a torrid tete-a-tete
 with your inner self
 and sings fantastic flirtations

 I am the justice in the court
 betokening perfect impartiality
 and never guilty of distorting the truth
 None receives the least pardon from me
 for any offence

 I am the policeman
 following the thugs
 with a baton
 and filing a case against them 

 I am the overpowering magician
 My virility, more ebullient
 than that of a gunman or a swordsman
 In case they can only kill a person
 Yet I influence the latter
 and charge the battery of his heart

 I am the labourer
 digging out moth eaten rubbish mounds
 and recycling them

 Yet, I am the poet,
 the very slight poet,
 still struggling for perfection. 

Biography of Author

Indunil Madhusankha is currently an undergraduate reading for a BSc Special Degree in Mathematics at the Faculty of Science of the University of Colombo. Even though he is academically involved with the subjects of Mathematics and Statistics, he also pursues a successful career in the field of English language and literature as a budding young researcher, reviewer, poet and content writer. Basically, he explores the miscellaneous complications of the human existence through his poetry by focusing on the burning issues in the contemporary society. Moreover, Indunil’s works have been featured in many international anthologies, magazines and journals. 

I'll start tonight's music with Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On":

This version of "Dinah" is from 1933.  The band is playing in Copenhagen, which fits nicely with Leslie's poem.

Here is a live version of "Green Dolphin Street" featuring John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb:

In this video, Coltrane and Monk play "Evidence":



  1. Indunil Madhusankha wonderful. Indunil has also appeared in my group poet anthologies.

    1. Thank you very much sir. You have been a great source of inspiration in the journey through my literary life.