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Category: Music

POEM: Young Boy Blues

Young Boy Blues

Digging through an online directory
I came across a copy of Jon Cleary
singing “Young Boy Blues” on
Harry Shearer’s radio show back in the day
and I think this is the first time
I’ve heard it since I lost you
and so I’m sitting in the
fucking grocery store of all places
and trying not to cry because
the college kids eating their sushi
and the parents trying to get their kids
to sit down for a few minutes to eat pizza
wouldn’t appreciate a middle-aged man
being reduced to tears with his headphones on
and anyway I’m not sure 49 is really middle-aged
because the current life expectancy for a white male
is 77 and that means the middle of life would be 39
and my current age is nearly two-thirds of the way
to the part where I won’t be able to listen
to Jon Cleary sing “Young Boy Blues” anymore anyway.

/ / /

22 November 2022
State College PA

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POEM: Digging Bill Evans

Digging Bill Evans

I was 21, driving a used car,
no money in the bank, a job
as a waiter in my uncle’s restaurant
awaiting me in the desert.
I moved into a studio apartment:
a bed, a small sofa, a scuffed old
round table from the restaurant.
I had my stereo from back east;
the library across the street
had CDs. I’d sign them out
then sit on the floor, head
between the speakers, trying to
find my way into the music.
Now I have a 20-year-old son.
I can’t afford a studio apartment.
I don’t have a job waiting for me.
I’m still trying to find my way
into whatever story the music is telling.

/ / /

21 November 2022
State College PA

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POEM: Headphones

Headphones

A new Paramore track dropped
& I couldn’t wait to listen to it with you
but then I remembered that you’re not around
so I listened to it by myself
& it wasn’t the same.

/ / /

28 September 2002
State College PA

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haiku: 24 September 2022

Pharoah sails the new moon
look on his works
ye mighty and rejoice!

/ / /

24 September 2022
State College PA
for Pharoah Sanders

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haibun: 17 August 2022

We’re listening to Ani DiFranco as I wash the dishes following another of Christian’s amazing meals. Talking about the heady days of the early ’90s when we drove from town to town in the northeast following Ani and Andy the way others followed Jerry and Bob. In church basements and college halls and small-town theaters that used to be vaudeville houses we joined in with ever growing groups of fellow misfits, trying to figure out where the hell we belonged. I think of how young Ani was then — the same age as us, just a few years older than my kids are now — and how wise and powerful she seemed. Not seemed, was. Black tape on her fingers, slamming against the strings. Head shaved except for one wild lock of hair. I was probably the squarest person in all of those rooms but that guitar and those lyrics and that voice and those drums started to sand down the corners of my box. Now it’s thirty years later and all that’s left of the box are the occasional lines I draw for myself. The music, sadly, is still as relevant as ever.

Thursday night in Ithaca
dozens of us on a concrete floor
not even noticing

/ / /

17 August 2022
Greensboro Bend VT

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haiku: 17 August 2022

a couple swims to their sailboat
transparent sail like a dragonfly’s wing
in my headphones “Dark Star” plays

/ / /

17 August 2022
Caspian Lake
Greensboro VT

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haiku: 15 August 2022

3.7 billion years ago: a single cell
present day: Schumann
knits them back into one

/ / /

15 August 2022
Highland Center for the Arts
Greensboro VT

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haiku: Tanglewood Evening

Tanglewood Evening

on the lawn our attention
drawn to one woman coughing
as the pianist plays

***

four low voices slip
across the manicured grass
a warbler enters from the trees

***

air heavy with citronella
the pop of a cork
during the applause

***

a lone student’s violent end
transformed into melody
all breaths are held

///

Bastille Day
14 July 2022
Ozawa Hall lawn
Tanglewood
Lenox MA

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haiku: 10 July 2022

my senior year
comes rushing back
grocery store music

/ / /

10 July 2022
Pittsfield MA

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haiku: 18 June 2022

at the end of this line, a saxophone!

/ / /

18 June 2022
Lowell MA
(written in front of
Jack Kerouac’s birthplace)

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Happy arrival day!

It’s been 108 years since Sun Ra arrived from Saturn. Not sure where to start with his massive discography? Try this one:

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