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Three Poems by Joseph Powell July 22, 2010

Posted by vscorpiozine in Uncategorized.

Riding The Coltrane

Meditating on a love supreme—

Riding the “L” past Fullerton and Clark,

Bebop poet with grey dreadlocks

Under a green beret,

Wearing tie-dyed jeans with

An “Oh my God, they killed Kenny” T-shirt on,

Is making his way through my car;

Laying down rhymes

About the passage of time

And how we all still need to get along

Cause we only have one life to live;

And how he’d rather be bold and beautiful,

Than young and restless,

Cause that might land you in a hospital,

General or otherwise;

And how the days of our lives are

But like falling sand in an hourglass,

My children,

For we passengers were all his children

And you see, it’s all about loving;

But I digress,

Cause this is supposed to be a jazz poem

And jazz is one part digression

And the rest is all sex and sin

And sax and violins and memories and shit—

The good jazz anyway

And I like good jazz:

Like Lady Day on a rainy night,

And Thelonius in his pork-pie hat,

And Miles cooking up his bitches’ brew,

And Coltrane, Coltrane, like this train,

Gliding smooth through that tunnel

Of love, through that tunnel of bullshit

And what the fuck and don’t give a damn

About the man who can’t see past

The color of my skin to

The content of my character;

Or the woman

Who can’t see my forest for the trees;

Gliding, gliding,

Making its way to the downtown

Of my soul,

Like good jazz should,

Making stops along the way,

Picking up passengers

And dropping off others;

Y’all better get on board,

Cause once it takes off,

It may not stop;

And I think I just heard the man yell,

This is the “express” train,

Not the “A” train,

That’s up in Harlem;

And we talkin’ bout Coltrane,

And not Duke,

For he’s the subject

Of a whole ‘nother poem

That I ain’t wrote yet;

But once again, I digress,

Even though this is supposed to be a jazz poem

And jazz  is one part digression

And the rest is all sex and sin

And sax and violins

And memories and shit—

The good jazz anyway

And I like good jazz;

Like Coltrane, Coltrane;

Glide on, Trane, glide on,


Nocturnal Emissions

Sax man

In downstairs apartment


Like there’s no tomorrow

Like he’s got the world

On his shoulders


His woman done him wrong;


The rent is due

And he’s broker

Than broke

(Lord, don’t I know

how that is!)

I think Coltrane

Would’ve liked

This brother—

Blowing blues

‘round about


Keeping me awake,

While probably

Lulling others

To sleep;

But I don’t mind,

Cause I could use

The accompaniment

As I sit

At the kitchen table

Writing my own blues,

Feeling like,

The world’s on my shoulders;


My woman’s done me wrong;


The rent is due

And I’m broker

Than broke;

Writing like my life

Depended on each word

I write—

Which it probably does.

As the full moon shines

Through the window,

As the sax man


Continues wailing,

Time seems to

Stand still

As I finish

My poem

And all I’m left


Is just jazz.


He dies a little

each day,

withering on

the vine

of his own


that he’d


would bear fruit,

only to see


it has rotted

to the core.

He thinks

love is a theory

that sounds


on paper,


should be


by a



set ablaze.

He drinks


from a

water bottle

he keeps


underneath the

kitchen sink;

watches porno

on the

living room TV

while his wife


in the

other room;

thinks sex

is always



other people

are doing



in Technicolor;

hopes death


him quickly


the hollowness

of a marriage



All poems© Joseph Powell

Joseph Powell is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, including “Blood On The Page” and “Mofo’ Risin’ “, as well as a full volume of poetry, entitled, “Joby, Uninterrupted: Bittersweet Symphonies and Bohemian Rhapsodies(1989-2009)”; he was also a featured poet in the National Geographic/PBS documentary, “Skin”. He currently lives in Burbank, California with his wife, Toni, stepdaughter, Santi, and their pet chihuahua, Monty.

You can buy Joseph’s book, Joby, Uninterrupted: Bittersweet Symphonies and Bohemian Rhapsodies(1989-2009) at Amazon.com

Read Joseph’s blog, The Joby Chronicle, @http://jobychronicle.blogspot.com .



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