Jamaica Farewell

January 31, 2008

Negril 1975

You forced me to use words I didn’t
want, repeated in structured form
like women taking off their clothes.
It could have been the moon
or Jamaican nights caught naked
by the beams through the thatch.

I know you tried but you weren’t
the first to walk this sand
forgetting the reason you came.
Lizards watch
slip through the floor
scratch sestinas
on the beach.

Outside, blowfish die waiting
for the tide.


Watercolor–The Color of Zen

January 25, 2008

Well, the middle of Watercolor (scroll down) was a bit off–maybe difficult as was said. It was awkward without obvious help. The first stanza was Zen-like–well close to it. You can see the omissions and additions. Does it work? What is Zen? Like the masters say, if I explain it–it isn’t Zen. so, the real question…is this poem any better for it?  I can say that read aloud–it has a better flow…


The Color of Zen

January 25, 2008

Too much morning light
can erase the purple and pink-
gray clouds layered above
the hills like cotton ribbons.

Misled dharma followed
you off this morning mountain
dusting roadside primrose
the color of Zen.

Crow calls break the silence
as Monet colors mix
with backrun brush-strokes
of too much water.
A good sunrise is hard to hold
like tail lights over the last hill.


Watercolor

January 23, 2008

Too much morning light
can erase the purple and pink-
gray clouds layered above
the hills like cotton ribbons
laid out for an Ozark cotillion.

Leaving, her crunching gravel
dust yellow primrose,
chase the last screech owl
from his nocturnal hunt.

Crow calls break the silence
Monet colors mute and mix
with backwash brush strokes
of too much water
A good sunrise is hard to hold
like tail lights over the last hill.


Jazz Angels (Revised)

January 11, 2008

K.C. Jazz Angels

For Milton Morris

Bill Basie playing sweet riffs

Swinging “One O’Clock Jump”

12th Street, Reno Club

Lester Young’s hot tenor sax blowin’

chorus with the Count

Jam,

Jazz,

Swing,

Jazz Angels

Wild jump blues, shake the bandstand

Reefer dances, drifts

like a voodoo blue haze

up from the band.

Charlie Parker, looking for that swing fix

too young to blow

leans over the balcony

digging Lester under a crawdad moon,

blowmanblow.

Woodsheds on stoops,

back alleys, waiting for the nod.

Jam

        Jazz

Swing

Jazz Angels


All That Jazz

January 10, 2008

The next two poems are tributes to the jazz era in my hometown of Kansas City. “Meet me at Milton’s” is actually a found poem exactly as it appeared in the KC Star–I added the title. Milton ran this for years as I was growing up there. One of his first clubs, The Hey, Hay Club was actually a barn. The band played from a wagon and the customers sat on hay bales. Count Basie played here. As was the custom in this time period the clubs never closed and the bands played from 8 pm to 4 am. During prohibition, Milton had a sign that read “Marijuana and Whiskey 25 cents” He figured what the heck, both were illegal. Milton went on to own several more clubs and promote the jazz he loved.

The second poem, “KC Jazz Angels” is my attempt at a jazz poem.


Meet Me at Miltons

January 10, 2008

Meet me at Milton’s

                          For Basie’s  “Main, Main– Man” A true Jazz Angel

                                        

I AIN’T MAD AT NOBODY!

IF

I’ve been out of line!
I’ve given you credit!
I’ve cashed a bad check for you!

No matter what the reason that I haven’t
seen you, COME BACK HOME!
ALL IS FORGIVEN!

 

                                   Found poem that ran in the Kansas City Star for many years