Jazz Notes

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Soft notes escaping from the Harlem window as big old Buicks

cruise down Fifth Avenue and dine on dance clubs until dawn

Ella and the Count are everywhere and anywhere for all hip cats

to dig and find a place to jump on

The golden horns and smoky air intoxicate the modern soul

that yearns for the truth about what momma told them

Listen closely for a Blue Moon to saddle up the past with real

dollars and very tiny income

Red rose gardens and whitewashed school books suddenly

make sense in the cool reefer night

Forgetting the style and not caring for rules the cats bob and weave

as the bats fly out and give you a crazy bite

Jazz from the earth and Jazz from the sky, calling for the east

and calling for the west

drums beating loud for the cattle call that rounds up

Harlem’s best

Soft notes escaping from an empty loft near the park that

fall on the sidewalk until the ghosts move along

Victrola heaven cranks orders from the magician’s

vocal chords that tap out the broken heart’s song

Get up right now and head to the store, the radio, or the

old smoky club

Your jazz is waiting patiently and you never have to

show the man your ticket stub

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A Hole in the Heavens

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Sometime after the War, the big one, the second time

after years of austerity

after years of fear

after years of funerals

after years of hard labor

A hole cracked open in the heavens

and music poured down

and poetry poured down

and literature was born

and freedom expanded

Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Elvis, The Beatles, Steinbeck, and Playboy

danced in the streets

danced in our ears

danced in our minds

danced in our feet

Yes, they came from the Heavens, the place where all goodness is born

but the hole dried shut

sometimes it leaks a little

but not nearly enough

sometimes we need more, much more

So, the next one of us who dies, better leave with a jack hammer

and find where the hole use to be

start drilling, and drill down deep and hard

let the goodness flow down on us

like a flood

The Last Cowboy In Teller

remembering-the-old-times

Relentless western rain pouring onto soupy gray lanes

horses and cars scare one another as the old world is shoved

aside by a new one

Teller’s emptying out – gone to the oil fields

money…the corrupter and killer of civilizations

(or at least the one he knew)

He nudges the paint pony onward

past the stores out of neighborhoods

very few horses in town anymore

cars, lots of the damn things

the rain peppers his face as he turns his collar up

dark blue horizons on the hills

Been here his whole cowboy life

all he knows

the wife died a few years back and the kids moved to the oil fields

money…lots of money

the old range hand tends to his herd…talks to them

opens the barn and feeds his livelihood as the sun sinks west

he sits on a bale and watches them eat and stick their mouths

into the water trough

be a full moon tonight

back when he was young he would drink and dance

at bar back in Teller when the moon got full

tonight just a fire and beans before

retiring and hoping for an old cowboy’s

dreams

 

I knew Your Father

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I knew your father, a way you never did

sitting at a bar, a little off the grid

He became my friend, a teacher, a time

his stories enthralled me and then became mine

his friendship was real, honest and true

He was consistent, easy to turn to

Like father and more, he became part of my day

drinking and talking, never a cliché

We didn’t always see things and completely agree

but our friendship was deeper, I was made to see

What he saw in me, I never understood

he carved out a table of ancient redwood

Beer and wings, sometimes a little more

I hope we meet again, on a distant mystical  shore

Now he is gone, some days I feel a bother

I’m just glad I can say “I knew your father”

 

 

 

Sweet August

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Ahhh sweet August…the Everest of summer time

hot days and nights – sidewalks chocked with tourists

boats with bright sails smoothly drifting by

the park – ahhh the park

BBQ and wine – guitar strumming and love poems

cool dark movie theaters with giant boxes of popcorn

every day is a gift with an hour glass

only thirty one days – then gone

cheap watermelon and a walk among the trees

a season of reflection – slow down – look around

a song bird tells me how sweet it is and that winter will erase all of it

tee shirts, shorts, sandals – that’s all

bike along the ocean and smell  life in the salty air

memories flood and leave – childhood

dusty old roads and scorching baseball afternoons

fruit and vegetable delights fill the markets

zen evenings watching the sun retreat

full moon madness and tales of werewolves

sweet August and another year going by

 

Taking the Air

old-west-town-by-night

eighteen eighties western frontier bound

late in the evening when only a prairie sound

cowboys and gentlemen in all their affairs

would walk the night streets and “take the air”

a customary routine from a simpler age

to lay aside all troubles, discouragement and rage

today this seems zen like, so Buddha, so rare

to walk down the street and breathe the local air

hustlers and drifters, joined the silent share

to shut up and just take in the night air

profound and so common, anyone could

life would be different, uniquely so good

cool and refreshing, a lesson from the past

to slow down and enjoy, not breeze by so fast

to rise up and leave that comfortable chair

join the old cowboys and take the night air

 

Around the Fire

campfire

Under six hundred year old trees as thick as a car

sitting on the grounds where the Chumash lived for

thousands of years

Cool night air cleansed by the salt water waves

sounds of nocturnal night beasts

City voices silence and die a city death

wild nature soothes the smoky soul

the sun is down and heading for Asia

thoughts are born – thoughts that never lived before

ancient stories come calling – myths begin to chant

and dance

voices from the netherworld

disconnected from evil electricity and opinions

you take notice – things are different

a refreshing waterfall of peace trickles

in a tired blood stream

visions of old wars and journeys burn

in the flames

knowledge prances in the night air

inviting you to engage

put another log on and wait just a

few more minutes

two lane black tops back in the 1950’s

Kerouac – California

Steinbeck upstairs typing away

Kennedy giving speeches and Castro smoking cigars

Eisenhower and Mamie

two tone shoes and Bill Haley and The Comets

Buddy Holly and the crash of the Iowa plane

Polio sugar cubes and flat top haircuts

Cheap gas and high grade V8s

Chrome ideas and hula hoops

the fire dies low and tree frogs croak

bed time