roger singer | 3 (more) jazz poems

Rufus Reid 1979 | Photo: Mark Weber


The notes sing to me.
A grandma spiritual; warm evenings,
bugs buzzing on yellow lights,
a fever of warmth. Night solid with dark;
the breath of men gasp tired.

I see my youth. A ball of knots.
Tied up in love, broken under the
weight of tears; running eyes, inhaling
life into my soul.

The tracks on my bass; cold lines,
heated with fingers, spilling a story,
pages of pain. Fish jump in my head,
pulling me home. The river knows my name.

I cry the spiritual alive. Pull at its feet.
Knocking it down, wresting like Gabriel.
Forcing the mist of its shape to surrender
the jazz. Touching the groove in me;
I sing the remembers.

Butch Morris & Frank Lowe 1979 | Photo: Mark Weber


The music circles;
pebbles of faces
skip the pond on the

An island of jazz
floats from the city;
drifting on smoke,
danced by

Concrete hard.
Nights cool into
flashes of neon

A broken bottle
and hearts,
rattle to a homeless stop;
silence signals
the end of

Car doors clap.
Eyes injected with youth,
fail onto tomorrows

The music burns the blues,
steaming to sharp

Eugene Chadbourne 1977 | Photo: Mark Weber


Problems got me under the rush
of jazz;
I drown in the pain
while pushing the jive and juice to
the surface,
exposing the dark side of me.

The point of music sticks
me good;
I bleed a hole wide like rivers
covering my head,
causing my air to gasp;
glaciers of jam cover me.

The neck of my guitar bends to
the warm will of her eyes.

The song of words I sing
leads me to the hell I
run from,
when with her.

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