Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 2015 Haiku/Senryu

Trying to be more diligent about keeping track of my ku. Here's this month's output so far. I will update it as necessary. Surprisingly, it's been a very productive month. I'm thinking about doing the Haiku a day thing every month and not just during NaPoMo. 

Full moon
The half of the Oreo
with the stuff

now a citizen of the

Carolina dawn
Rising up the flagpole
a woman's hands

Milky Way
Between the stars
Ahmad Jamal's fingers

Empty crayon box
Our son gets a taste
of the blues

Memorial Day
Strewn about the beach
Lorna Doones

Scraps of tires
The flatness of a tern
in the road

Urbane graffiti
Only the expletive
written in cursive

A black cat
settles on the windowsill
October nightfall

Deepening sunset
A pickup's Rebel flag
shrinks in the distance

A bluebird rises
from a budded branch
April daybreak

White cat
Bloody pause
Nine lives gone

The largest hand
sprinkles the Truffle Salt
Father's Day

Summer Solstice
A Father's hand lengthens
a girl's smile

There to prey
The sight of a rifle in the

Still rippling over
Charleston South Carolina
Battle Flag

The curl
of a dead boy's fingers
A toy gun

This woman's white hair
How majestic the crown
of those mountains

Prayer meeting
The expressions on faces
outside the church

Not a prayer
The echo of a rifle
through the Pews

Only the cue ball
left on the table

Spin Cycle
Abe Vigoda is dead

Wave after wave
Falling onto the beach
Boardwalk tourists

Green light
Cars wend around the fountain

June afternoon
The Italian Ice man
shaves smiles

composed of cords
or net

Cold man
A Shake of jazz to come
Free with Cherry 

Rainy day
Our son only seems to know
words that end in Why

Ornate coal man
Mellow descends a fair well 
drifts in the missed

Frost on
the rear windshield 
Snow moon

Grain moon
A crescent of cake waning
in the urinal

Summer night
the beach fills with
sound of waves

Day after Xmas
throwing out my back
with the trash

Back alley
Written in cursive
his pee

Afternoon fog
low door jamb
sudden sprinkle

JV Football
My son goes to the pine
to learn about pine

Black Hawk on a breeze
The Last Diné Code Talker

Basketball court
Two crows caw
Next game

Dinner time
the open mouths of 
slot machines 

The blind man's cane
skips a beat 

over the numbers
Spread sheets

Cannabis seeds
My mother startled
by a roach 

Bouquet of Roses
The skin on her collar bone

Detached houses
The distant eyes of the new

The oak's roots
raise blocks of the walkway
Daddy's fingers

Divorse papers
We spot the typo

June sunset
How softly the petals
flutter down

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Follies 12 JUN 15

To celebrate the life of the recently ascended Ornette Coleman, here are three of what I like to call Cubist Haiku. Coleman was infamous as one of the great innovators of Jazz music creating what would be called "Free Jazz". At a time when the leading innovators were playing a style (Bebop) that relied on using notes of chords taken from a song's harmonic structure, Coleman eliminated chords from his written compositions and instruments that played chords from his band, a move that struck most as completely crazy. His most famous album "The Shape of Jazz to Come" set the jazz world on fire, and sparked endless debates. And yet, the songs worked, thanks in part to his wonderful ability to create melodies. Coleman was also known for his highly idiosyncratic use of language and sometimes seemingly circular logic. As time passed he came to be justified in his approach to the music but his semantic weirdness never waned. Here then are three haiku/senryu in his honor. 

Ornate coal man
Mellow descends a fair well 
drifts into the missed

Cold man
A Shake of jazz to come
Free with Cherry 

composed of cords
or net

Among the alternate readings of the first piece is " Ornette Coleman/ melody sends a farewell/ drifts into the mist."
The second piece makes reference to Don Cherry, the long time trumpet player in Voleman's band and father of singer Neneh Cherry. 
And among the alternate readings of the third piece is "Not/composed of chords/ Ornette"

And until next we met, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

May 2015 Haiku/Senryu

Memorial Day
Strewn about the beach 
Lorna Doones

Full moon
The half of the Oreo
with the Stuff

Spring breeze
I rearrange the flours
in the cupboard 

Garden harvest
More salt less pepper
in my beard

September moon
Ahead in the headlights 
Oh Dear

Cherry Coke
My students ignore
the blossoms

Cherry blossoms
She scrounges her purse
for lipstick

Dripping from
the water tower
Spring rain

Her fingers
on my bare shoulder
Piano music

The Rapture
I find in Revelations
a squashed ant

Milky Way
between the stars
Ahmad Jamal's fingers

Afternoon fog
light drizzle 
low door jamb

Baltimore twilight
The slow fall of a tear 
gas canister

Three AM
The homeless man finds
a round trip ticket

Stretched across
the back bench of the bus
Morning sunshine

Morning fog 
a mother waiting on
the feeble sun

On the Boardwalk
the spotless shoes of the man
in a wheelchair 

Morning fog
only one of us

Bouncing off
every riot shield
Waxing gibbous moon

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Friday Follies 29 MAY 15

So a few nights ago Cheryl Lynn and Anita Baker allegedly had some beef on Twitter, although it was more like one person chewing on some (very spicy) beef jerky. Yes, it was probably petty, although easily the most entertaining thing online at 1 AM. Of course, Tonk playing Twitter (aka Red Kool Aid Twitter, Black Velvet Jesus Twitter) went IN, mostly on Ms Lynn. All of which is cool as a box of Bomb Pops in your Granny's basement freezer. But there was a consistent misconception that needs to be cleared up. And who really is better qualified to do that than your homeless uncle DJ Renegade? First off, I've been an AB fan since Chapter 8 (no that's not a type of bankruptcy) even though her voice (like Lagavulin) ain't for everybody, including evidently Clive Davis. And yes, we can all name five AB songs for every CL song (assuming you go back to '78). And yes, AB sold more copies of "Rapture" than CL sold of allofheralbums COMBINED. All of this is as true as hamhocks are greasy. But when it comes to vocal talent (instrument + musical ability) there is really no comparison. CL got more chops than a bamboo forest has sticks. AB is a singular talent with a unique style and a distinctive timbre all her own, and yet CL can sing her under the table. Pick one, your Auntie's card table? Check. Your Nana's glass top Coffee Table? Check. Your Mama's walnut dining table with the heavy ass extensions? Check. The table where Christ and his Disciples ate the Last Supper? Check. The Periodic Table, the Water Table and the Table of Contents? Check, Check and Checkmate. Whatever you do, DO NOT SLEEP on CL's voice. *grabs you by the lapels* Do not (for the love of Banana NowOrLaters) get it twisted, CL got more range than the Appliance sections at all the Home Depots. Check her LIVE performance with Luther on Soul Train where she harmonizes UNDER him by singing some Bass/Baritone notes like she was wearing some of Lou Rawl's drawls. Check her background vocals on "Got to Be Real" where she harmonizes with herself with multiple Whistle Register notes. Yall ain't probably know she had a Whistle Register because it's perfectly blended into her Head and Chest voices. CL don't grandstand, she just hits whatever notes the song needs and floats on. Shorty got more range than Patti LaBelle (there I said it), but before you get up early to poison my Earl Grey, save your side eyes and Google or YouTube or ask somebody with perfect pitch. All the notes are on the record.

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits 25 May 15

Speck of white
floating in this evening's tea
October moon

with every streetlight
June moon

December moon
Drifting into our window
Autumn leaves

A crescent cake 
wanes in the urinal
August moon

Won't you
be my Valentine
February moon

Rippling softly
among the Bay reeds
May moon

The only fool
Holding a mirror to the sun
April moon

Blowing clouds
from bright cheeks
March moon

the rear windshield 
January moon

September Moon
Caught in the headlights 
Oh Dear

Blind rage
she bans the July moon
from our bedroom 

Moonless night
Tip-toeing down the hallway 
cat's eyes

So many eyes
on a hanging chad
November moon

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits 12 MAY 05


My stuffed panda,
nicknamed Pythagoras,
sang to me until I was ten.
Then I heard the bike sprocket
of logic rip up
the pants leg of his song.
The logic of adolescence
is the long blue ache
for adulthood.
I blew adolescence
like bubbles from a trumpet's bell.
From my Middle School hallway,
music class beckoned.
Pythagoras sang music
as a sacred form of math,
neon numbers raised to the highest power.
All my school trumpet desired
was to be carried home
to our housing project
in a case with a velvet lining,
a conical mute.
Why do clouds get to play with
such vast velvet Blues in the background?
The mute desired to teach me
how to moan in public,
but I took up the trumpet
as a budding oral essayist.
Or to replace what Pythagoras sang.
My mouth became a bed
for the mute to dream in.
I did not dream of god
the way I dreamt that
minor chords wore hard hats
with tiny beaming lights.
I still recall the whole notes
of my eyeballs
filling with blinding light,
a bright blare
not unlike a horn,
whose body became
a balm for my adolescent fingers,
even when they couldn't
bear such brassiness.
And Miles above —
clouds were hoarse whispers
galloping from god's muted mouth.
I knew the needles of a pine
and the needles of a phonograph
could both sew song into spinning air
but didn't make the same scents.
There was scented oil
glistening the trumpet's valves.
Inside its coiled body,
a half note curling towards the open bell,
wet, rhythmic breath
buzzing into the late afternoon
with the lilt of eyeballs filling with light.
Why do we say "late afternoon"
like it showed up drunk and disheveled
hours after it was due?
Or worse, as if it recently died?
Logicians think death
has no logic, but
the logic of death
is the long blue ache for life.
My boy T claims
the truest thing about music is this:
a poem can be a useful essay,
but an essay is a useless ass poem.
I know breath collects inside a horn
the way dew collects on curling leaves.
But who collects the shavings
of quarter notes that curl
around a trumpeter's feet?
I wasn't old enough to shave,
not even seconds off the time
it took to sprint for the schoolbus.
I left my school trumpet
on the bus several times,
but it never held it against me.
Maybe I only took up
the trumpet so I could hold
Latricia Taylor against me
and collect her curling breath
in the bowl of my collar bone.
Miles above, clouds were hoarse whispers,
curling fog from god's frozen nostrils.
After I got my front tooth knocked out
I tried to play the trumpet,
but my band teacher claimed it
impossible as a one armed man
playing a violin.
I can still read the notes curling
across sheet music as easily as a grocery list,
but never learned to play by ear.
Like a man who can read French newspapers
but not comprehend the frank whispers
of the woman he desires.
Desire is a housing project
in a former French City
famous for its trumpet players.
I've truly never lived in that city,
but since my first tryst with the trumpet
the long blue logic is this;
we're all born and razed
in our red brick projects of Desire.

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Friday, May 08, 2015

Friday Follies 8 MAY 15

One of the things I did during April was revisit some older poems that I wasn't happy with. There were a couple that I really thought improved and these are two of them. 

Ode To Full Lips
(for Miss Prissy)

Horizontal half-moons
silken as cinematic whispers,
last night heard my tongue
pray for that sacred space
between you.
We worship
your red's exquisite sheen
for how easily it exceeds
the Two of Heart's glossy finish.
You know it aint good sense
that makes us imagine
your fat bottom gleaming.
Months ago,
I dreamt you as sliced halves
of fruit beneath glass,
above teeth white
as an apple's bare flesh.
But now I'm shoplifting Chapstick,
brushing rich gloss
across a canvas
stretched like skinny jeans
after a midnight binge,
bewitched by what
surrounds your mouth's
satin machine.
You've been chapped
by cold, salt and sunlight.
But a single flick
from the scarlet felt
of a wandering tongue,
can supple all again.
And when are our
busses scheduled?
I want to ride
your double-decked
lushness deep into
the tunnel of your doubt,
then string bright sighs
along its dark ceiling.
You need no MAC,
Max Factor, or Clinique.
Peck. Peck. Peck.
Now that I've kissed
the blues for you,
come close
and hum
your cinnamon song. 

( for Terrance )

if riffs you only dream
redeem what
you can't seem to play,
even if every note
could be token.
Fears even if
those notes were to reign,
some umbrellas might
remain unopened.
Supposes what
Faith means
is melody
forever moistening
a mouthpiece,
filling even the fifths
in the next bar.
What you pray
and couldn’t pray for
rooted in the same
earthy chord,
always entwining.
Say the embouchure
of Desire beckons
from a double bed
in a bitter suite
you seem to enter
on a hemp rope
of incense smoke
you barely remember,
in a lavish hotel
where you can never
check Inn.
Doesn't every
untangling tongue
wish to probe
the pouty mouth
of Imagination?
But what notes
the cursive smoke
now rites,
blew all ayes.
Say a naked triad
tempts the rhythm.
An organ swells.
The key motif is
all things in modulation,
let us therefore
praise the pious piano,
then change the lock,
to change the key.
What is this Acknowledgement
but a mere opening riff
curling like
the mysteries of
a quarter moon?
The audience phases,
fully dressed, observant
of the sabbath of Resolution
through half-full glasses.
A brass scepter,
your sax sanctifies
the fingered strings
of the upright bass
as unholy sticks cross,
but the cymbals
have the sound of cymbals
that are unseen.
Still the audience
witnesses and testifies.
You squeak,
and they find
in chorus-like fashion
along the back wall
a groove in unison,
E pluribus unum.
Filling all four chambers,
exposed brick walls
the color of kaolin,
the definition of diastole.
Smoke rises
in systolic Pursuance
of forms, spilled
spirits pooling
in mirrors.
A surprised door opens
and eyes widen.
Psalm, says the sax,
because the chairs
are full of ears
opened earnestly,
craving serenity.
Nimbus, nimbus
says the notation:
but can even
the nimblest fingers find
that cumulus chord?
Notes float
and conflate with
what was whispered
and almost wholly writ:
no redemption
but these digressions
on the downbeat
raining, raining . . .

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)