Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Note on Tone

I wrote this piece to respond to a running joke on the Two-Plus-Two message board, in a Forum called Beats, Brags and Variance. There is a stickied post called "A Note on Tone" and another called "a New, New Note on Tone" that lay out the guidelines for what is and isn't appropriate. Some of the posters there (including moderators) posted some replies that both punned on and made fun of the original. One such post was called "A Note on Karl Malone" and was basically his Wiki entry, there were others like "A Note on Home Alone", and "A Note on Scones" So to have some fun and keep up the chops, I wrote this poem in that spirit. I used as end rhymes all the titles of the imitating posts

A New, (Blue) Note on Tone

Six-nine from his skully to his big-toe bone
eyes that sparkled like stream washed stones
shiny waves in his hair, skin a caramel tone
sported satin shirts that were exquisitely sewn
he preferred hot grits to cold corn-pone
had a thing for biscuits, never fucked with scones
he played First Trumpet to my slide trombone
my Ace-boon-coon, I rolled with him alone
the first # listed on my wireless phone
red to the rods and callow to the cones,
his rap was melodious, never a drone
he drank hot perfume, farted cool cologne
made pelvises sing and bed springs groan
he knocked up Alicia who I wanted to bone
was in love with Mary Jane, but married Joan
spent years in a cell with a porcelain throne
cuz he broke into her crib when she was Home Alone
dug Chris Webber, but hated Karl Malone
swung a bat quicker than Al Capone
always played his man, never played zone
played poker alnight, slept while the sun shone
rode a hundred bucking horses and was never thrown
died in his sleep before being fully grown
and was buried in a jacket of purple and roan
then eulogized in a Toast like the baddest man known.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

OK, so I took the CC group piece below as a starting point and using my contribution as the first line, wrote a new poem:


At the age of five I saw words
dancing like daffodils in a downpour,
turning my heart like a Lazy Susan.
I could feel that iambs were woolly but not white,
and saw that even inside nursery rhymes
there were waves of sheer darkness.
At thirteen I thought words mere vandals
scrawling slogans on the walls of the world,
even though some coiled inside me like cobras.
At eighteen I knew that
when the heart sang, the mouth closed,
since desire denied was my lone truth.
At twenty-five I wondered if words
could rise to greet us in the great beyond,
the holy ones swimming around the head like heat?
Was it true there was no notice in the mail to wait on,
no permission to give or get.
At thirty I wondered if it would be flagrant
to listen for the fluttering wings
of speech when silent walls surrounded.
If outside these closed windows, other open windows . . .
Then, one Sunday afternoon
while sitting at a chess table in Dupont Circle
locked into the logic of ‘If I do this, then he does that'
My opponent pointed westward down P Street
to rapidly advancing rain clouds.
He feared a dark menace moving in to drench,
and uttered a single word.
But in a sudden summer storm,
I saw black clouds billowing
like dust behind charging Knights,
heard in the call and response of flash and boom,
a Bishop blessing the communion
between White openings and Black endings.
Baptized in this rain of revelations,
cool against the skin as a quick wind
sending black rooks flying,
I tasted the Word's hidden tingle,
and my new tongue unleashed like lightning
across a blank page of startled sky.

Mano a Mano

Whenever I'm running bad at poker it seems like the poems start flowing. I was thinking about writing a poem for one of the waitresses at the Borgata, but instead I pulled out an old piece and re-wrote it:

(For Gigi)

When you toss your head
stirring the dark mystery of your hair,
how are the almonds of your eyes
suddenly so brown?
Why do your lips glisten,
ripe as an apple
rain recently kissed?
My hands have trekked
from Australia to Zaire.
Yet the tantalizing terrain
between the soft shore
of your forehead
and the brown beach of your feet
leaves them befuzzled,
grasping at air.
Lacking any compass,
nautical chart or North Star.
They have kayaked currents
on the Silver River,
rambled up the rocks
of Mt. Rainier,
even delved the depths
of the Mediterranean Sea.
But your passionate pout
may harbor more treasure
than any ocean’s sunken chests.
So these hands
dream of wandering down
the coiled conundrum of your spine
and up the twin exclamation points
of your thighs,
until they solve
every beautiful riddle
the country of your body contains.

after Pablo Neruda

Friday, November 03, 2006


I just picked up the new Al Jarreau + George Benson CD entitled "givin' it up". It is extraordinary, not good, extraordinary, the lineup of musucians alone made me buy it, without hearing any of the tunes first. I couldn't see how that group could go wrong, included are Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Patrice Rushen, Paulinho DaCosta, Stanley Clarke, Patti Austin, Jill Scott, Chris Botti, and so on. The material ranges from R+B to Smooth Jazz to Straight Ahead Bop. Highlights include; covers of Miles Davis 'Tutu' and 'Four', an instrumental cover of John Legends' 'Ordinary People', Seal and Crofts 'Summer Breeze' and Hall and Oates 'Every Time You Go away'. Great tunes, well played. I've also been absolutely in love with Joy Denalane, the German Soul singer. Her album 'Mamani' and its live DVD counterpart are very much worth the effort necessary to track them down. I also can't wait for Lura's new album which should be out soon. I also recently revised the poem below 'The man with the Blues Guitar' it is actually a decent poem now.