roger singer | a line of strings & other poems

Rufus Reid 1979 | Photo: Mark Weber


A thickness of quiet pulled
the air into slow where it
begged to be filled.
A big muddy of thoughts spread
over the crowd, like the water
they were; wet collars, sweaty palms.

A low tide of moving hands
struck a line of strings,
releasing songs too heavy for corners,
to bright to hide.

The jazz has stolen him. A wall of faces
protects the gold within his fingers.
All songs have felt the travel of his hands;
he is the ebb and flow, the start without finish.

Fred Katz 1979 | Photo: Mark Weber


Gloves of pearl white,
aprons of satin, the veil
Of goddesses lay tight
to the skin of her arms
as she raises them
in praise to the lights
of heaven over her.
The path of a silver moon
washes over her neck;
a celestial fusion of
stars and night.

The stage is her pedestal
for her story of song.
Envy around her breeds
in the eyes of hope;
the promise reaches only
to her and no others.
Her breath fans
the heat of jazz.
The cool of her fire
burns in her voice.

Bill Evans Trio with Eddie Gomez 1977 | Photo: Mark Weber


Man with the blow of brass
dances the sound
into all flesh.
Long eyes feel the jazz
rising up, falling flat
to the lust of earth;
voices breathe behind
night curtains.
Dirt and stones
roll to the power
of his motion.
Easy hearts yield
lipstick to napkins,
kissed by the king
of hearts on stage.
Suspenders and
high heels roll
like freight trains
rich with speed
and full of sound.
Black and ivory
break the lines.
Hands with thoughts
drip the sweat
of this here place,
with low lights
and shadows
full of spirits.

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