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Category: Music

POEM: The Best Thing

The Best Thing

Late at night,
listening to songs
that make me cry.
They’re not sad songs.
They’re just so beautiful
I can’t hold the feeling in
so it comes out as tears.
Moments of transcendent joy:
Aurora dancing on Fallon;
Toad singing about Nanci;
jamming with Ringo’s photos;
belting out harmonies with Dawes.
Music is the best thing
in the whole goddamn universe.
You can quote me.

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12 January 2022
Colonie NY

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POEM: Listening To Claude Thornhill’s “Snowfall”

Listening To Claude Thornhill’s “Snowfall”

The band announces itself with a flourish
before fading into the soft white of the piano.
It sounds better because it’s old,
a half-remembered audio phantasm
floating just out of reach.
Sure it would be nice to hear
every nuance, every breath, every
subtle shift in tone or timbre.
But given the choice, I’ll take
the crackles and static,
the muted highs and lows,
the mid-range heard as if
underwater, perhaps from
the bottom of a pool
while the band
plays on the

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6 January 2021
Albany NY

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POEM: the guitarist in my dream

the guitarist in my dream

the guitarist in my dream
was wearing an old army jacket

they looked up from under
their beanie cap

told me they loved me
introduced me to a friend

said the friend had been in
something famous

but they wouldn’t say what
so we all fixed bikes together

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17 December 2021
Farmington NY

This was the song going through my head when I awoke after this dream:

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The Drowning Pool playlist

I’ve been reading Ross MacDonald’s The Drowning Pool today and listening to music as I read. Here’s the playlist:

Dizzy Gillespie — Night In Tunisia
George Shearing — Lullaby Of Birdland
Cecil Taylor — Looking Ahead
Gerry Mulligan — The Gerry Mulligan Quartet
Zoot Sims — Zoot Sims Avec Henri Renaud
Glenn Gould — Bach: The Two And Three Part Inventions
Emerson String Quartet — Beethoven: The String Quartets
Elvin Jones & Richard Davis — Heavy Sounds

I also made this into a Spotify playlist.

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Got the blues

Music for a rainy Monday:

Memphis Slim — The King Of Jump Blues
Magic Sam — West Side Soul
Robert Lockwood Jr. — Ramblin’ On My Mind
Homesick James — Blues On The South Side
T-Model Ford — Pee-Wee Get My Gun
Big John Patton — Accent On The Blues
James Blood Ulmer — Odyssey
Jessie Mae Hemphill — She-Wolf

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POEM: Good afternoon, Stan Getz.

Good afternoon, Stan Getz.

Good afternoon, Stan Getz.
I used to know what most of these
Portuguese words mean but now I don’t.
As I was typing the lines above I remembered
that you (not you, Stan, the other you)
also liked this album a lot.
In fact when I made us a nice dinner,
timed for the moment you got home from work,
it’s what I’d put on in the background.
My son is down the hall now,
listening to hip hop that’s fighting
with the soft drums of Milton Banana.
What a great name: Milton Banana.
I don’t know if his last name is said
like we’d say the fruit but I sure hope so.
Anyway back to my son:
Last night we had a long conversation
about the nature of happiness & security
& it turns out he has his own ideas
on those subjects & many others.
I love being surprised by what & how he thinks.
(Now Astrud is singing & I’m missing you.)
(Not you, Stan. Again, sorry.)
There’s a dog tucked up behind me on the sofa.
I chose “sofa” there because it sounds more
sophisticated than “couch” & this
is sophisticated music, you know?
Anyway, Stan, what was I saying?
I think the point is there’s a little snow on the leaves
on the ground on this little patch of planet &
that always means it’s time to dig into the vaults
for the good stuff from back in the day.
You’re one of the good things, buddy, so out you come.
Ha! Good one, Stan. Now you’re playing “Summertime.”

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27 November 2021
State College PA

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