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.)