Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bill Cushing's Brasshouse Buskers

Last week I was supposed to post this poem by Bill Cushing as well, but here it is tonight.  Enjoy!  Summer is a good time to read poetry and listen to music.


Three spheres of instrument—percussion, sax,  
and trumpet: brass, reed, and skin—become
a discussion of brash banging fun. 

The three surround a pail, collecting
donations for their beating counterpoint, 
a concerto akin to some surreal 

coo-coo clock. The day’s audience gathers: 
waiting commuters, tourists, regulars, 
a few hipsters. The bucket fills, singles 

and fives mostly, some tens, one guy stirs
a twenty. Two skinny Santas dance 
into view, a yuletide boogie. The music 

shrieks, shocks, squeals, and squawks, yet there’s fluid 
motion in the high-stepping legs, the feet 
that slide, circling Union Square platform

in waves that weave seductive, as these three 
dance and create a wake in a shape 
that’d break the back of a snake.

Bill Cushing

Bill also sent me this YouTube video of Too Many Zooz.

Hard to believe that they are playing at 3:33 AM, the time when all good personal trainers get up and everyone else is asleep.

I think I've posted this video before, but it's worth listening to again:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMe6Y8GDVEI

"Warriors" is a new video:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

At last...Listening to Bird

Let's return to poetry about jazz with tonight's poem by Bill Cushing.   I am always happy to receive wonderful poetry about great musicians--no matter which contest is going on.


Flying through scales
he did the impossible, stretching

staccato sounds,
stopping only to change direction.

He found places
in his search for every note

not imagined:
leaving chromatic gravity,

breaking confines,
shooting up into infinity;

then he rested,
hanging on a single, random chord;

bending branches
of music (but never breaking them),

wherever he chose, staying

just long enough
to make it his territory

and his alone.

-- Bill Cushing

You can listen to Bill read this poem *and* watch a very cool video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er8ob1QqRrs

Or you can listen to some music by Bird himself.

Tonight I'll post "All the Things You Are":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTORd2Y_X6U

I'll finish with a live recording of Bird and Monk from 1948:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7QoV9a9gxE


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Daniel Snethen's Nature Poetry

Thank you, Daniel, for your patience.  Tonight (now that my grading is finally over) I'd like to post your poems that you sent a while back.  The beginning of the summer is a fine time to return to nature.  Since it has been raining constantly in Maryland these past few days, Daniel's poems will have to do for now.


bat wings echoing
Owyhee County mineshaft
frightened spelunkers


beady eyes, grey tail
popcorn puff clenched between teeth
scurries across floor

Majestic Mighty Mo

From Montana headwaters,
widening winding river flows—
Majestic Mighty Mo.

Steeped with prehistoric denizens.
Paddle-fish and sturgeon,
false-map  and leatherback turtles—
majestic pisces and terrapins
of the Majestic Mighty Mo.

Gavins Point and Oahe.
Fort Randall and Big Bend
all help ebb the flow
of the Majestic Mighty Mo.

Turbines churning,
create an electric electron flow--
lighting the prairie region
surrounding the Majestic Mighty Mo.

Coursing its way through Dakota
like a life-sustaining artery.
 Majestic Mighty Mo.

Mistaken Identity

The tiny serpent 
lay beside my pitfall trap
seeming to want
my attention.

Gingerly, I picked it up
around the middle—
taking in the glorious features 
of this tiny bullsnake. 

But the color was wrong,
too red—not brown,
like the juvenile of 
Pituophis cantenifer

but rather like the red
of the juvenile Coluber constrictor,
which turns grayish-green
as an adult blue racer.

However, the dorsal pattern
was not quite right,
and the girth— 
hefty, not slender.

I looked at the tail end
of this docile diminutive serpent 
and then I noticed 
the keratinous button of youth.


An ancient planet, an ancient society, post apocalyptic survivors of a world irradiated and ruined by alien invasion. Forced underground, a subterranean existence necessitated the evolution of an alternative life style. Eyes functional but sightless in a world with no light, these fossorial denizens tunnel blindly searching for nutrient, sustenance and the opportunity to procreate during any chance encounter with another of its kind…extinction thwarted by hermaphroditic evolution.

nocturnal worms meet
evolution takes no chance
hermaphrodite love

Haiku (Scorpion)

poison tail poised
field cricket frozen in fear
pinned on poison point


side-winding serpents
chisel-toothed kangaroo rats
telltale sandy trails 

Spearfish Creek

Spearfish Creek
from the bottom up.

Current too swift
to freeze 
from the surface down.

It is backwards
and sacred
like the Lakota Heyoka.

It flows all winter long,
satiating the thirst
of the deer,
the raven,
the lone traveler
and all the denizens
of the Black Hills.

It is Mni Wakan,
sacred waters
that never freeze.

Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny's "Beyond the Missouri Sky" 

would certainly fit well with Daniel's poems:


I'd like to include their "Moon Song" as well:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtSpiF5q-Cg

Below is Haden's "Taney County" from his 1986 album Quartet 

West:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?


I'll finish with Pat Metheny's version of the Beatles' "And I Love Her":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYcZ6s3z1jg