roger singer | 3 [jazz] poems

Art Pepper Quintet with Bob Magnusson, John Dentz and guest Lee Konitz at Donte’s North Hollywood 1982 | Photo: Mark Weber


It’s a shame
mornings gotta come up with
a bright bleaching, extinguishing the dark,
sending stars into hiding
and the moon to the other side of the earth.

An up sun provides the aroma of
breakfast, drowning out the flavor of
whiskey on ice and the gold of
beer flowing; bleary eyes full of jazz
yawn out the darkness.

The clubs open door invites in a brightness
like Christmas smiles, attacking gray corners
and faces shaded in shadows.

Slow steps scuff home where coffee
pots wait for shaky hands.

Morning is the enemy of night spirits.

Fred Katz, Father James Perrone & Hyman Katz 1979 | Photo: Mark Weber


Air notes of glass
slip sharp
through smoke,
cutting a path
to a crowd
lazy with music
sitting under willow trees
holding hard the jazz
like warm black
roads of summer.

Fat clapping hands,
long days of beer
and evenings short of gin,
cool his hands
into the drain of night.

He is the calling.
Dressed in black,
hat tipped down and
a lip wet cigarette
balancing his face;
the rising smoke is from
the fire within.

He feels the eyes
reaching into the spirit
of him.

Bobby Bradford 1976 | Photo: Mark Weber


The jazz
and the junk
crawled like
ants with cymbals
on their feet
jungle marching
inside his head
yelling to his
snazzy fingers
to blow notes
with pounding
and circling like
witchy winds
scratching hard
at the air
tearing a hole
and blasting
the music
smacking flat
into faces
smiling broad
from the sound
blowing upside
down and straight
with curves
escaping from
that horn.

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