Thursday, January 31, 2019

Five by Gary Glauber

I'm pleased to see that I can squeeze one more set of poems into January!  Tonight I'm posting Gary Glauber's poems that he sent me...I'm afraid to say when he sent them to me...but they are right on time for you to enjoy tonight!

Sound Advice
Neko’s voice is the only cure.
He plays music loud 
through too obvious headphones,
seeking solace the only way 
his body knows (through rhythmic vibration).  
He is bruised & burned
from transient episodic nightmares,
freezing in muffled cries,
remembering times when dreams
provided extended silent rest. 
Letters arrive, addressed to
unknown brothers, phantom sons. 
Windows frame picturesque tableaus 
of neon yellow & couched feeling blue. 
Everyone cried when they learned
the moon was stolen 
by so-called romantics
& you stood on your head
until bills flowed like autographs 
out of tall black speakers.
It’s all broken glass & static feelings.
The needle drops & you sing along
to a foreign city’s soundtrack.  
The laws have changed 
& what is revealed 
in the face of the meantime
is the true nature of the unknown.

Recon figured
Hearing the glory of the Royal Scam,
searching for phrase to put toe into water. 

But such fragile creation falls away, dissipating
like elusive muskrat, hiding out of plain sight.

World travel never quite conjured muse,
searching Budapest alleys for the anapest,

the trochaic that might stress, then relieve me,
in that distant world of labored wonder.

These longings propel me to dark corners of soul,
where lies & laughter trigger fevered light,

illuminating nothing & no one, exposing aches
of poetic possibility, the demon of discovery,

& a reversal of the organic process, hats blown
askew in zigzag wind, serpentine suggestions

occurring in hot pursuit of the slow assemblage 
of crafted beauty, words that soften harsh edges

into a dynamic awareness, phrases that flow
like memories that sadly never were,

the double negative that lifts your spirit
to a heaven of perfected expression.  

Photograph by Elliot Billings

Opus 110

Every sound 
pins down a center of memory,
a household command, 
the wind through the tulip tree,
the reflex of putting that lipstick on. 
He is held fast by any of these aural triggers,
even the long afternoon practice sessions,
soothing showers of deft glissando,
never getting all the notes quite right,
but a strange comfort in the repetition. 
He knows now 
that all time signatures are irregular.  
No professional studio can capture
what his mind conveys here,
when a weekend return
becomes a concert hall of echoes,
a long program of le fugue reminiscence.

First published in Foliate Oak Literary Journal


The recital hall crowds with expectation;
hushed silence as shared heartbeat. 
Cog in the orchestral wheel, he prepares to roll,
traversing each careful note to confidently
convey the composer’s original intention.
White shirt starched to crisp attention
provides necessary camouflage
to achieve strategic means. 

She walks front and center
through heavy applause,
formal black gown elegant and suggestive,
opaque on smooth shoulders.
She comes to tame the pressure, 
to harness and guide intensity into art.
Her beauty strikes him yet again, 
tempered by years, but still viable.
This former actress remains
calm under duress as maestro,
smiling while wielding the thin baton,
as intimate with the piece
as if she had penned it herself. 

She summons orchestra to readiness,
bows raised, breaths taken awaiting
her signal to launch the volley of notes 
that starts this musical journey.
Like a Von Karajan or Toscanini, 
she manages a distinctive individuality,
gestures carrying the music that carries her,
a reciprocal arrangement culling
notes to life through performance. 

He is servant to her master’s wand;
required phrasings and accents 
coaxed from seasoned professionals
with sweeps of the arm, a well-timed glare, 
one he likes to pretend  is meant
for him as her favorite. 

Yet he is a bit player,
no chances for a star turn,
retained month-to-month ‘til the contracted one 
returns from maternity leave.
Playing his heart out, following the spirit
of each score to his best abilities,
dreaming that this maestro’s smooth legato 
might someday summon a romantic sweep 
of rising strings from within, a love shared
beyond performance, beyond the
love of music that unites them now.

From the chapbook Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press)


The smoked glass 
is polarized, 
guaranteed to protect
in ways the naked
eye could never.  
Soon the show begins,
moon incrementally
overtaking shining red sun
for the momentary victory.
But before the darkness
worries the local birds
into frightful screeching,
I pretend to read an article
that might enlighten me
about the private life 
of a renowned filmmaker
whose dark strange works
inspire me. He is strange
and controlling and ruinous
in his choices, something 
of a bellicose tyrant,
and as unpredictable.
This is not surprising.
You have to boil water
to make rice,he says.
He is quite demanding,
even in his domestic tasks.
Thinking back to some 
of the more harrowing scenes,
the unspoken terror
mastered through
camera’s eye 
is mesmerizing. 
Iron-clad principles
run rampant
through rusty lives
of weaker types.
Such people cannot 
hide, overtaken by 
the wild’s vim and vigor,
unmasked with each
raspy breath, exposed
in their hiding spots,
disturbed and about
to be forever changed.
Darkness prevents
me from reading more,
yet the sun will be back
and the world will continue,
red blood pumping hard
through four chambers,
much as it has before,
world revealed as 
no different than 
a good hearty
bowl of rice 
served well. 
Life as simple 
as the salvation
of using chopsticks 

I think that tonight is a good night for piano. 

I don't know if I've posted Jason Moran's version of "Crepuscle with Nellie" yet:

This is a live version of the Robert Glasper Experiment's "Smells Like Teen Spirit":

Here Vijay Iyer performs "Far From Over":

Friday, January 25, 2019

Timely Poems by Kim D. Bailey

Tonight I have some timely poems by Kim D. Bailey.  I don't usually let poems jump the queue, but these poems, especially "Oxygen," speak to our current situation.


In this place another voice is silenced, unwelcome
heresy to speak against them. They own the air 

you breathe, the light and darkness, the wall erected
to keep those people out. As if anyone would 

want a place in their world, where women
walk on broken glass, belong in shackles while they

serve, occupying space at their mercy. Mind 
your words and make sure to please, ensure

your place, sacrifice equals love. No, not his—
only yours is needed. Never mind the lack of

oxygen, you get what you deserve. Be grateful
and gracious. The Bible says so. He is the Head, you

are his property. This place is an anomaly, frozen 
locked down, pious patriarchy poison. Outsiders 

submit or face excommunication, exist or
exit the room, resistance is relinquishment. 

I will not look back and become a pillar
of salt. The air out here is too delicious.

Photograph by

Some say we should be grateful, I do
not disagree, but the thing I need
to say, for you to hear is
gratitude does not equal 
safety to a young mother, it fills 
an abstraction, not children's 
bellies; nor does it cure
cancer or unbreak a heart or
keep you warm or make the
loneliness dissipate in cloud and sky, 
no. Gratitude is a trick of the mind like 
quarters appearing behind your 
ears when your uncle comes to visit. 
It is there, but does not belong to you, 
only the cosmos, the empty blackness 
devoid of air and light.

How To Help

When momma cooked supper I washed 
the dishes, while my sister dried, caressing 

them like a crystal ball, and we saw 
our unmapped futures. Unrequited.

Babies are made this way, we clench
our teeth hold our breath hope for more, sometimes 

less. We got what we prayed for, more 
than we expected. Nonrefundable.

Momma can't wash the dishes anymore.
We wring our hands, howl at windmills, feel 

the earth fall upon our skin; it clings like 
molasses until we are face down. Asphyxiated.

I try to help. My words are sucked 
away, my breaths are shallow. A 

mountain has formed in the curve of 
my spine. My chest is gravel. Scatter 

me on fields of 
cotton, clothe the world.
Photograph by David-D


Tall as trees yet greener than the ancient pin
oaks swaying, branches outstretched, I watch 

them, get to know their cadence and
chatter, noise to fill a house haunted by

death. Walking corpses entombed, petrified sorrow
preach disdain, dissolves on the tongue. Why not

swallow your fear? Life is for the living. Their young eyes
drive darkness from forgotten corners, clearing

cobwebs gathered dust, rusted remains 
rendered in a rue of righteousness, rage

at God, “My will, not His, be done!”But the seed drifted,
and from those tired bones, reach the smiles of children

so much like their father, and his father long ago, shining
like sunlight on Pluto's surface, bathing, caressing until

a fissure is made. God's promises fulfilled, should
one care to notice, are right here in front of us.


I know you are there, somewhere
lost among dead leaves, decomposing or
basking in kindness of strangers, aliens
to you—strange smells and beds, as long as 
you are safe and happy.

I have an idea where, but not exactly. No
forwarding address, a sleight of hand, phantom
shadows in glimpses. You are, and you are
not. So I imagine laughter because anything 
else feels like betrayal.

One day I may see you, will you see me?Perhaps
It would be best if I watched from my shadow 
world, expecting nothing, living on
memories. You disappeared for a reason. Who am
I to question that?

Kim D. Bailey is a 2016 Pushcart Nominee for nonfiction, and a 2018 Best of the Net Nominee for poetry. She is published in several online and print journals and in audio, including but not limited to Firefly Magazine, Tuck Magazine, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Writer's Digest, Anti Heroine Chic, The Song Is, The 52 Men Podcast, and Tupelo Press. Kim was a columnist for Five 2 One Literary Magazine from June 2016 to October 2017, writing to Breaking the Legacy of Silence. She has also held editorial positions with Firefly Magazine and Sick Lit Magazine. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two dogs.

I'd like to finish with some music.  Let's start with Jen Shyu's "Song for Naldo."  I'm not sure which stringed instrument she is playing: It may be a Taiwanese moon lute.  It may be a Korean instrument.

This is her "Mother of Time" with her band Jade Tongue:

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Welcome to Ahmad Al-khatat!

Recently the poet Ahmad Al-khatat read his poems on Michael Anthony Ingram's radio program.  (Here's the link: Tonight I'd like to post a few of his poems.

The Soul Mirror
You see me,
you follow me
slow as the night
when it slaughters
the sunset above 
the clear skies
Golden danger 
that you hide
appears sad from your eyes
End me and allow
me to die above the
pool of my rusty blood
I don’t want to
be the soul
mirror with a mother's tears

Burnt Leaves
Sometimes, it’s better to leave the 
past unsaid to anyone untrusted
when the ears hear nothing of delight
but about a world that is breaking 
in pieces of dryness and moisture 

Little birds of heaven fly above the 
graveyard of unknown tombs 
Some of them were actually for friends 
we met below the season of the bloody war
Where everything seemed too dark to

It’s the evening, I’m drunk 
alone drinking and watching my
dreams in a dusty bubble up in
My mind that is filled of burnt leaves 
and dead corpses of teenage fighters 

The other side of my life is
never silent, I usually hear
the sound of shooting, bombs,
and kids crying by their dead 
mothers' bed from a shooting that I participated in it

My tears are like the rain
except mine don't bloom,
or grow a branch from a
tree within my dreams in the
seeds, instead I feel I am a soldier with a curse 

Photograph by mahmoudalrawi

Since the time 
I built my first
sand castle 
and the waves
damaged it
I knew that
temptation was
not fancy in
my small home
nor in the castle of my princess
The thieves
are well trained
to play with them
meanwhile, tears
are falling hopelessly
Different drugs
are no longer bad
as alcohol is dripping
above the thirst
to arise silent pain
I live once and 
not twice with a
doctor coming to
me to say that 
I will die within seconds
The sea view is
the only view
that reminds me
of times when we
were innocent and not miserable

This evening I'd like to post a song by Korhan Fatuci and Kara Orkestra, a Turkish group that is part of the Shape of Jazz to Come, according to Nick Hasted, a British music critic:

Here is another of their songs:

I'll finish with a song from their Babylon session: