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Category: Music

poem: (untitled)

the trumpet player
leans in and whispers
into my ear
a poem about death

/ / /

18 May 2023
Charlottesville VA

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haibun: 22 April 2023

As the storm starts I press play on the Dave Brubeck album and think of my grandpa. When I was a kid he had a record by the Jack Stewart Quartet, playing Brubeck tunes. They were a band from the Berkshires, where he and I are also from. Half the album was recorded live at a private girls’ school, the other half … I can’t quite recall. Long before I heard the Brubeck originals, I heard these local reproductions, which had the odd effect of making Brubeck seem like the copycat.

thunder drowns the piano
rain on the glass like snares
turntable memories of spring

/ / /

22 April 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: Suss

Suss

Back in the rocker,
rocking,
literally and meta-
phorically.

Thankful,
in my way,
to be alive.
Sure.

There’s the wolf,
now howling,
now skipping light-
ly

over the diamonds
on the water.
Makes the whole
pressurized coal thing

feel a bit suss,
I’ll admit.
I’ll huff and puff
or just chew edibles.

That line was
for the kids.
I’m all the way
with Ian MacKaye.

I was driving past the zoo
when I heard the news.
I didn’t care then.
I would have cared now.

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20 April 2023
Charlottesville VA

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POEM: 23

23

This is a poem
inspired by an album
inspired by twenty-three paintings.

This is a stanza in a poem
inspired by an album
inspired by twenty-three paintings.

This
is a word in a stanza in a poem
inspired by an album
inspired by twenty-three paintings.

T—
his is a letter in a word
in a stanza in a poem
inspired by an album
inspired by twenty-three paintings.


is the absence of a word
in a stanza in a poem
inspired by an album
inspired by twenty-three paintings.

*

up in the sky
we make the stars
make pictures

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14 March 2023
State College PA

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POEM: for Tom Verlaine

for Tom Verlaine

turning up Marquee Moon in the otherwise
quiet night of someone else’s house

wearing headphones because the world’s asleep
its madness closely contained in a thin layer
of clean-toned guitar riffs, slicing through

the flesh around the heart
no blood, so much blood

/ / /

28 January 2023
Farmington NY

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haiku: 7 January 2023

the room is a little too warm
Bing is singing the classics
later there’ll be snow

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7 January 2023
State College PA

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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

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17 August 2022
Caspian Lake
Greensboro VT

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