Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Stone Resurrection

August 21, 2011

I Come to Praise, Not to Bury, the Last of the Incroyables
To what is left of my 1970s garage band, now a lounge act

Chilling roots. A competent Bodhisattva,
you describe Adonis at fifty-something.
Total ice. Incredible. Only genius
covers the Eagles.

String guitar, a salient old perspective
claims the high road. Holy of Holies, hear me.
Count your minions. Carry the sonic proxy
out of our future.

Crank your manic destiny, Haines and Tug Boat.
Slack becomes your adamant Dylan medley.
Larry Fix, your name is an astral 6 train.
Hail to the Fender.

Solid ghost, pretend to remind the gathered
ancients, hairless, vague, of the Minor 7.
None shall rise as few would dispute your glory,
Stone Resurrection.

Surrey down. Reveal to a static world how
angels wear your Dorian cherry hi-tops.
Call the game, O Surrealistic Pillow.
Surfeit the fallen.

Recited on stage to diners at the Perryville Inn, Perryville, NJ, August 19, 2011


Mardi Gras Sketches

February 8, 2010

(Ghost of the Quarter)

The gutterline across Lafitte’s is strung
with plastic banners for the Mardi Gras—
the colors of the King Cake, purple hung
by gold and green—the quintessential trois
couleurs. It’s bunting for the old parade
on Bourbon and St. Philip in the Quarter.
Tip the Pleasure Club for Social Aid,
we’re leaning into the shadow, bricks and mortar,

where on the jukebox, Richard Manuel
complains about the sorry shape he’s in.
That rumble in the alley. What the hell—
it’s save your neck or save your brother’s skin
and call a number for the second line.
Let’s say we resurrect Evangeline.

(Roll and Walk)

I met some solid Catholics at St. Ray’s
on Friday morning. In from Washington
(the State), they drove me to a yellow shotgun
out in St. Bernard’s (the Parish). Days
and days (a year or three) of work and real prayer
got this palace studded-up for walls,
and so we screwed the gypsum down the halls—
your typical two-family with a wheelchair.

At lunch, a guy called Tom who didn’t talk
a lot began to juggle hammers, not
that he was any good. A nervous tic.
a little extra energy. It got
the neighborhood’s attention. Roll and walk,
your harder kids looked sideways at this trick.


I lose the echo of accordion
amidst the vials of absinthe on the bar,
the spyboy calls and lamplight denouement…
“Prepare yourself for Krewe Endymion!”
(or Continental Airlines in the morning)
…and focus on an antique silver bowl,
the cubes that burn, suspended, to the toll
of spoon on glass. Their bluish glow a warning,

now they flare and melt into a liquor
green, a scene insidiously steeped
in Degasesque demise. L’enfer, despair,
temptation. Like the wisp of flame that leaped
through blackness to the match at my cigar
expiring as I cross to Frenchman Square.

Happy Epistrophy

January 6, 2010

Young Girl in a Suburban Café

December 4, 2009

Marcie plays guitar and sings off key
or listens to the Velvet Underground
revivalists and sips an herbal tea
until her turn on-mic comes back around.
She’s luminescent, reaching to the length
of fingers spread across a rosewood board.
There’s stiffness in her rhythm but some strength
behind that errant F# minor chord.
And, yes, the knotted scarf is kind of sweet.
She looks the part, a twist of smart and pretty.
Behind her through the window to the street
the DeCamp 33 bus to the city
idles brightly for a moment at the light,
then sets off on its slow trip through the night.

Wednesday Night Open Mic
Tasty Coco Cafe and Lounge
Caldwell, NJ

It’s a Mean ol’ World

October 20, 2009

In Appreciation of the Youth Vote

November 15, 2008


November 6, 2008

The Theme from Shaft

August 11, 2008

I.M. Isaac Hayes

I. Geometry

We dig the architecture of a hit:
The hi-hat takes us in, all loose and tight
with wah-wahlate guitar laid over it.
The lyric pipes are flying high and light.

Then taped-together charts for high school horns
lay out a little longer than they should.
The rhythm section tenses like it’s torn
between the dialectics. And that’s good.

But nothing comes to nothing ’til the string
ensemble disrespects the starting gun
and cuts its lines up over everything.
You kick the snare kit twice and then you run–

and shut your mouth: Ba-a-ad Mother F*** er’s comin’.
And no one understands him like his woman.

II. Social Studies

Some things are just too perfect, baby
Like the sky crane sweep
Of urban exoskeleton

Real time
To the hi-hat tap and tambourine

That’s right
Like a section of the uptown wind
All private dick and leggy extras
Shaft! …Right on

A complicated bedroom scene
With Foxy Hi-Tone
And an emerald fist of pistols

Call it Blaxploitation
If you will
And you can call it wuchyu want
See, I’m just talking
‘bout the man.

III. History

In a stone astonished week of revelation,
on a road no longer strictly Roman Catholic,
I heard it’s tin-can-true sophistication.

Through the caves of adolescent masturbation
where my Playboy daydreams blew most graphic
and astonishing there came a revelation,

and my worldview went on permanent vacation.
In my father’s Fairlane, driving to Passaic,
I heard it’s tin-can-true sophistication

on the backseat vinyl. Cracked communication
of the baldest, blackest spoken lyric—
tonic weakness jacked to revelation—

left my Grand Funk Railroad at the station.
High school horns, once loathsome, came on mythic
in their state of tin-can-true sophistication.

And the AM kept this Isaac in rotation
long enough to tribe me to The Classic
in the stone astonished week or revelation
when I heard the tin can true sophistication.

Traditions in Jazz

May 18, 2008

“I’ve got to get things in order.
I’m determined to do it”
~Phil Schaap, WKCR, New York

This afternoon, it’s jazz tradition. Straight
palaver to the High Triumvirate
of First Improvization on a gate
that opens to Bechet on clarinet,
Bix Beiderbeck and Armstrong on the horn.
A novelty or two, some rare shellac
is crackling on the radio. It’s born
again and gonna be a long drive back.
Through Essex Fells and blowing airbag gray
above the trees and prefab vinyl homes
in which we find the hole in Saturday.
With Schaap carousing through the catacombs
and cluttered sound, the studio on air
where Pops is Tops and there and everywhere.

Uncracking a Cryogenic Obit

March 27, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, 16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008