Jazz Me Do, a poem by Ben Naga

Photograph courtesy of Chris Bair @chrisbair, Unsplash

“Poetry, like jazz, is one of those dazzling diamonds of creative industry that help human beings make sense out of the comedies and tragedies that contextualize our lives.”  Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry

Memory splinters … Splinters linger on
Orphaned … Amputated … Alien
Earlier hellbent … Later bent
Like a banana
Like a tasty adventure
Up … Behind … To infinity and beyond

Like the neighbour who
Spotting the Buddha in the back garden asks
“What’s wit’ monk?”

Like a glance above wondering
In this boundless blossoming heaven
“What’s wit’ bird?”

What’s wit’ Bird?
Variations on a theme
Came a long long way to end up here
To land up here wondering
“What’s wit’ Miles
What’s wit’ all these miles an’ miles?”

© 2020, Ben Naga

Ben Naga

BEN NAGA (Ben Naga / Gifts from the Musey Lady and Me. “Laissez-moi vous recanter ma vraie histoire) has lived in England all his life, apart from brief periods in France, India and Scotland. Music is probably his greatest love, with England’s Lake District not far behind. He has privately published “Northern Limericks” and “September Shadormas” and is working on two other collections. His poems have been published in several online magazines.

Jazz Is, a poem by Moe Seager

Photograph courtesy of Jens Thekkeveettil, Unsplash

“Jazz, like left-wing politics and ‘the common man’, was a cause.” Martin T. Williams, King Oliver

Jazz is
A way in to a way out
Way up down deep inside
An audio odyssey
A jet stream blowing in from Ghana
Belted out in Congo square
Jazz is a round trip ticket
Round the world of Africa and Africa touched

Jazz is
New Orleans second line
Voodoo queen looking so fine
Jazz is a diva’s honey croon
Looking for love, spell of full moon
Jazz is a man down and out in Chicago
Jamming entranced beyond his sorrow
Jazz is a child with a sense complex
A feel for a world beyond that given
Jazz is Havana throwing off heat
Blaze of a trumpet, bodies in beat
Jazz is a Jew on a clarinet
No hold back, he lets it rip
Jazz is a gypsy heeding the call
To new found sounds in his finger tips
Jazz is in duo with Mozart and Bach
A spoon in tune with Cafe Vienna
Jazz is a niche on a back-street in Paris
Rendezvous lovers, loners and poets.

Jazz doesn’t know solitary confinement
Be big band, be bop, slow motion shuffle
Be ballad, be blue.
Lay back and be cool
Come in and go out
Each time unique
Like the last time

Jazz is
A cargo the trade winds sail
To the door of the depot of the lost be found
To ring your ears and throb your heart
Stormy Monday turning sunny
Feel the blues depart

Jazz is
A riff that walks me home
Is a bass line I climb to the top of the stairs
Is the hand holding mine when nobody cares
Jazz softly whispers – I know how you feel

Jazz is
Chump change and scratch
Is chewing through the gristle
To suck on the bone
Jazz is a holler, a cat call, a hymn
Dollar down, dollar a month
Why I’m so broke I can’t pay attention
Jazz is red wine, white wine, up in smoke
Raising caine, strung on dope
Jazz is singing Lush Life in the shower

Jazz is
An instrument of fingers and tongues
A vessel of muscle and breath
Body and mind in sync with itself
Jazz time tics free off the clock
A serpentine march out of formation
Jazz can leap to the end of the line
Makes every stop along the block
Jazz goes uptown to get down
Calls night time the right time
And the right time is now

Jazz is
A teller of history, a history maker
Jazz be love oh so tender
Off the chart form the heart
Jazz is memory come with forgiveness
Jazz is a bitch
She´s the mother load

Jazz is
Sweet smells of incense, of jasmine, of hormones
Deep note moans, high pitch groans, twists and turns
Sharps that burn, flats that howl
Guitar licks that sparkle
Drum beats driven off the four corner map
And the beat goes on and the beat goes on
Through the Rio night, the Harlem dawn

Jazz is
A gas, a liquid
A solid mass of substance
A floating island in the center
Of the infinite sea
So vast is jazz, so deep and wide
How the middle passage
Placed us side by side

Jazz is
A family, a family of man
Whose taproot is the music of the Af-ri-can
Poly-rhythmic pollination from the talking drum
Graced in gospel, rolls of rag time
Tears and laughter of the blues
The gifts of many makers
Freely given me, freely given you

Jazz is
A way in to a way out
Way up down deep inside
A way to, a path through
The mindless rubble,
The poison propaganda
Lies of the masters
The illusion castors
Now cross you over to another side
No papers, no passports, no human claims denied
No charges pressed, no back-seat guests
Welcome to a dynasty of open borders
Jazz is
A free country

© 2020, Moe Seager

Moe Seager

MOE SEAGER (Moe Seager- Paris Calling) is a poet and jazz & blues vocalist who sings his poems on stages in Paris, New York and elsewhere and has recorded 2 jazz-poetry c.d.s. Seager founded and hosts Angora Poets (Paris) World Caffé, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Paris and is one of the coordinators for le Fédération des Poètes paris. He has 5 collections of poetry and currently publishes published with Onslaught press, Oxford, U.K. Other poetry collections are issued from the French Ministry of Culture – Dream Bearers,1990. One World, Cairo Press – in Arabic translation, 2004. We Want Everything in French translation, les Temps des Cirises, Paris, 1994. Perhaps, La Maison de la Poesie, Grenoble, France, 2006. Fishermen and Pool Sharks Busking editions, London, 1992. Additionally Seager won a Golden Quill Award (USA) for investigative journalism, 1989 and received an International Human Rights award from the Zepp foundation, 1990. He teaches writing in Paris.

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