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Improvijazzation Nation poetry - Issue # 72

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ALL artists!  I am very, VERY happy to announce that IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION is ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS again.  I have been granted a (possibly long-term) stay of execution for my trip to Iraq.  I will still  be traveling all over the U.S., so new issues may be a little less timely, but (as always), we will review your materials as soon as possible after we receive them.  Look at the guidelines for submission below, please:


MUSIC:  All formats accepted.  Snail mail to:  Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 5308 65th Avenue, Lacey, WA 98513  The only criteria for music you submit is that it MUST HAVE high performance energy... if you submit lacklustre material, it will be reviewed accordingly

POETRY:  Poems are accepted for publication ONLY via e-mail.  Poems submitted in any other fashion will NOT be published.  Poetry that includes some reference to music is granted first priority for publication.

BOOKS:  We will review some books; books about music are PREFERRED.  We will NOT return any books submitted for review.  Snail them to the address listed above for MUSIC.

DIY Announcements:  We will post your (e-mailed) ad about DIY projects, regardless of genre or medium... HOWEVER, this is ONLY for INDEPENDENTS... if you are a corporation, don't even BOTHER sending stuff... it will be marked and reported as SPAM!



Well, we are very happy to announce that we had several POEMS submitted this time 'round from our friend Rochelle Hope Mehr, as well as a new poet friend, Golda Solomon, so the "poetry" pages can come alive again!

Poets - SUBMIT your poems via e-mail to:


Bop For Daddy


I caught the blues like an Indian summer head cold.  A

twelve year old princess sitting at the window, elbows

leaning on the sooty sill listening for the screech of the

subway.  That late night sound.  You won't be walking

up Nostrand Avenue coming home anymore.  There's

something about a girl's father that frames her life.


Hear the train a callin' whoo-ee

… the blues in the night


As quick as the crack of Jackie Robinson's bat hitting

a homerun in Ebbet's Field, my daddy was gone.  Jeffers

Funeral Home, Empire Blvd. did the service.  I listened

to ball games on the Emerson radio, followed the World Series

in his memory.  He died before he could warn me about men.

Nipples pushing against a white undershirt, I learned the

Lindy Hop, polished scuffed brown and white saddle shoes

and looked for princes who might smell like my daddy.


Hear the lonesome whistle blowin' cross the trestle, whoo-ee

… the blues in the night


I married and divorced a boy who worked summers for

the railroad.  Go back in years to find myself.

Treasure his silver pocket watch, tarnished chain.

That special day, Sunday matinee, the Roxy Theatre.

Perry Como, a dot on the stage crooning to

us in the last rows in the balcony.


Now the rain's a fallin', hear the train a callin' whoo-ee

… the blues in the night



                                                            Golda Solomon,





Duke's dynasty reigns

pens sensual courtly jazz

Seduction complete

Notes, embroidered courtesans

blush-anticipate his touch.


Silk knots.  Black  beige  tan

Sacred threads tease needle's eye

Rejoice.  Come Sunday

sophisticated ladies

swoon give witness.  Testify



                                    Golda Solomon,



Golda's In The House



A Baltimore Oriole tiptoed thru the tulips

The first time I heard Sheila Jordan's voice

Some gay club in the Village

or was Tuesday night gay night

Tiny Tim, his curls, his ukulele

Sheila easing her instrument

Up over and under and onto perfect notes


Gigs haven't changed much

It's still about dues paying and "the man"

Smoke-filled clubs

Vodka on the rocks

2 drops of vermouth only please

What's a nice girl like you doing in this neighborhood

Hey, if anyone gets in your cab

And wants to hear New York jazz,

Bring them here to the Bowery

Or to Hudson near Spring

The Half Note

Then to Wells Uptown

Fried chicken and waffles

Scotch with milk


Sure it's safe


That cavernous Village Gate

Monday was always Latin Nite

But it was the Five Spot

The Five Spot

My weeknite hang

My routine

An after work nap

Dressed and out by midnight

Ratners on 2nd Avenue at 4 a.m.

Work the next A.M. at 8

That last night on the Bowery

The move to St. Mark's Place

Bobby Timmons "dat dared" on the keyboard

Chessboard set up and ready Mal Waldron, checkmate

Musicians, Knights holding court at their round table

Narrow slice of light across the worn floor when

the bathroom door opened and closed

Listenin' to Sir Hanna rattle those ivory's with Bach riffs

The aroma of Chan's rice

Farewell cake for Eric Dolphy

"Later" inscribed in chocolate buttercream script

Mingus' bass plunking commands


Weekends were for tourists only then

Maybe I'd grab the end of the last set on a

lonely Friday or Saturday

I crocheted a floor length cobalt blue skirt

Listening to Chico Hamilton and Charles Lloyd

Those two notes from Forest Flower still echo

High and true

Cal Newborn's sweet guitar

Sundays walkin' around the Jazz Gallery with Roland

Before he was Rasaan

He knew my laugh

Golda's in the house

Who knew we were witness to a history

We were just out listenin'

Finger poppin' to the sounds we needed like a fix


The Poet Laureate Billy Collins remembers the taste

and price of beer at the Five Spot.

I remember Joe and Iggy Termini

The notes the cash register played

And that little dance Monk did.                                           



Golda Solomon,


Pantoum - for Thelonious Monk


What if life were orderly like good penmanship

Oval swirls and curlicues of letters

No upper case swoops intimidating

Looming over this lower case innocent


Oval swirls and curlicues of letters

Monk's fingers, fat stubby crayons on keys

Looming over this lower case innocent

His primal notes in primary colors


Monk's fingers, fat stubby crayons on keys

Bright moments of sharps and bitter flats

His primal notes in primary colors

Simple to the ear - balm for my Gilead


Bright moments of sharps and bitter flats

Brown strong hands cover my baby ones

Simple to the ear - balm for my Gilead

In your notes I hear my childhood


Brown strong hands cover my baby ones

Dissonant chords alter my penmanship

In your notes I hear my childhood

A writing bump forms on the inside of my finger


Dissonant chords alter my penmanship

No uppercase swoops intimidating

A writing bump forms on my finger

What if life were orderly like good penmanship



                                    Golda Solomon,                     



Rochelle Hope Mehr
Murmuring Brook
What do we crave?
A folderol
A cockatoo
A look askance --
That's nothing new.
What we forgave --
The parasol
The lockstep, too --
Mistook a dance
And so withdrew.
Unwritten stave
Do you gambol?
Are you a laughingstock, too?
What do you hook in abeyance
Far, far from view?

Rochelle Hope Mehr
smoothing things out
too many thorns
pierce the air
pat the eath down
cover over the seeds
maybe they'll grow

Rochelle Hope Mehr
You might as well take my poem
For that is the best part of me:
The ripe part I suffer to ache.
The part that cleaves yearning to break...

Rochelle Hope Mehr
terri schiavo
she lies there
negative space
reaching to respond
or just reflex?
random movement
or reaction to stimuli?
warm fuzzy family
link to humanity, the world she once knew
cold, steely clinicians
probing, analyzing, short-circuiting all connections
husband in a new world of his own
going through his
motions of sealing her off further
take out her feeding tube
nobody cares
"persistent vegetative state"
"already dead fifteen years"
the world at large writes her off
take out her feeding tube
remove the vestigial link between
her and us
forget about her tomorrow
but remember something
something about being dimly aware
about those reaching out to you
and those shutting you out
those shutting you out
and then, finally, shutting you down
down like an obsolete computer

Rochelle Hope Mehr
Sanctum (To Ashley Smith)
Grace I'll take
Wherever it comes -
In a North Atlanta suburb -
Seeking asylum -
Sharing holy thoughts
With a waitress chum
Serving real butter pancakes - yum-yum -
Something in me
Dark and glum -
Grace I'll take
Wherever it comes -

Rochelle Hope Mehr
These are the things that belong to the night:
The coat rack, the lantern, the billowing flight,
The twist in the alley, the hissing floodlight,
The list into madness...
The face ashy-white

Rochelle Hope Mehr
Obsession will haunt you.
You fear the thing you want.
You want the thing you fear.
You slink back to your old haunt --
A red bandanna,
Blood red disrupting the white light of day.
Why can't you stay away,
Let the waters flow gently,
Let the sands nuzzle you into oblivion?
Pass, pass, let it all pass,
Let it while itself away.
Pass, pass, like a passepied:
Eloquent and haunting,
Spirited and daunting,
Daunting and passé

Rochelle Hope Mehr
When to look, arms outstetched and free
At the receding and beckoning arms of the sea.
When to foam at the mouth
As the meters increase,
As the dry land opens up vistas between you and me.
When to flee
Before the wall of waves lashes its fury,
While you stand there dumbstruck
By its come-hither look.
By its treachery.
Miles and miles away, the earth shook.
The waves roiled
In the doomsday book.
But all you saw was a placid sea.

Rochelle Hope Mehr
Current Events
The reality of imagination;
Its primacy in our lives.
The latest roadside bombing
Soon goes in the archives.
We focus on the glamour;
The veneer above the base.
What tension in the tenuous
Rivets us to the chase.

Rochelle Hope Mehr
White Wall
White wall blocking my way.
Traffic cop shoving hand in my face.
Take seat.
Pinpricks up my ass.
Like junior high fiends
Thumbtacking the seats.
We had to learn to look
Before sitting.
Always wary.
Always watching.
Always knowing someone's out to get you.
Stand up, take stand.
White wall in my face.
Nothing up ahead.
Pinpricks waiting behind.
Not so cushy
For my tushy.




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