Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mary Jo Balistreri Returns to The Song Is...

Tonight I'd like to post "Improv in Blue," a poem that Mary Jo Balistreri sent me recently.  This poem brings us back to music, evoking many genres, especially classical.  (Mary Jo was once a classical musician.)  Enjoy!

Improv on Blue                                                                  

Hunched over the keyboard, lost

in a blue translation of sound, his fingers fly

in chromatic parallels of motion, become tone

clusters, augmented wave-breakers, blocks

of color—midnight blue, teal and turquoise,

and suddenly he stands,

bends over the piano’s harp, plucks strings

in the sea of a smoke-blue room

where he unlooses

violet-backed starlings, iridescent

in drained glass ware

and upturned spoons,

soft as a handkerchief floating to the floor,

and then as he sits down, left hand pounding like a stiff wind,

right blurring the black notes, he modulates

to g minor, and a riff on Goldberg variation 21, indigo

bursting in contrapuntal rhythms, dropping between stars,

and now he mutters the inexpressible,

circles in diminished fifths only to find himself

in Sainte Chappelle, Paris,

Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites inundating his mind,

hollow footsteps on the cobbles after the concert

until he awakens with a start,

the crowd wild,

and he, triumphant in blue


I'd also like to mention that Claudine Nash has a new book of poems out, The Wild Essential.  It is available from Amazon and Kelsay Books:  

I'll be posting a few of Claudine's poems from this book soon!

Now for tonight's music!

Here is Glenn Gould's version of Goldberg Variation #21:

I am wondering if Simone Dinnerstein was the pianist at the Strathmore a few years back.  Her approach is a bit different, more tender:

Here Mischa Maisky plays Bach Cello Suite No. 1 in G:

Yo Yo Ma plays Suite No. 2 in D minor:

I'll finish with some music by pianist David Cieri at Carnegie Hall:



  1. Thank you so much Marianne for posting my poem. It was a nice surprise.

    1. You're very welcome, Mary Jo. It's always a pleasure to publish your poems. :)