roger singer | sorrow song & delta jazz & from her

Turk Murphy 1979 | Photo: Mark Weber


Sorrow songs rise from campfires
in angry yellow jagged flames
pressing long shadows onto
fresh plowed dirt mixed with sweat;
the land cries blood with them,
under skies dark like them.

Clapping hands like angels wings
circle the smiles of dancers
swelling to a rhythm born
from shackles sounding
a call to lost lives drowned of youth.

Drums hammer the voice of broken
bones and weeping flesh
but not the heart of souls
as patting juba forms the
child of jazz.

A birthing of music
pitches wide tents over dark nights
while feet thinly marked a message
into hearts not yet born.

George Sams 1978 | Photo: Mark Weber


River edge at the yawning of
the delta, I hear cottonwoods rattle
voices like people, low by campfires
scraping washboards and snapping
strings; soft footed fast picking
thieves run with shadows.
Beating drums stretch the skin
of messages released under
wide blue free skies of music calling.
Red dusty roads rise up
stormy jazzy winds,
brassy horns and loose strings
fall out a sound of notes spilling
like rain; oh how I love the
clean washing of the skin.
The planets of thought turn
in hearts of moon faced men
sitting and slapping out words
and thinking about sin.

Lester Bowie & Roscoe Mitchell 1979 | Photo: Mark Weber


She pouted her red at the microphone
where words circled above vultures
dreaming her lipstick close;
bright stars of night jumped
from her mouth.

Pearl white heaven made teeth,
a solid fence lifting like
heavens gates, pouring out the gold within
to streets and crowds.

Her electric fire speaks into
the listeners, lifting them with the
hand of song, while she lays down
hard the jazz.

Do “another one” someone yells;
She’s got a lifetime of another’s.

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