jazzmanII Vector ClipArtOnline, Royalty Free & Public Domain






In a Downtown East Side cellar
Ceiling lowered by candle glow
All sit silent save the Jazzman
Ritzy waistcoat, sharp chapeau
Breathing brass into the bar-room
Surfing soundwaves to and fro
That cool dude is in his own world
Improvising like a pro
Riffing tremolo up spine-bones
Palpitating hearts aglow
Altered scales defying back-beat
Bluesy half-tones threatening flow
As the Jazzman vamps a coda
Treble shrill or alto low
In that Downtown East Side cellar
Ceiling lowered by candle glow
You’ll still find my friend the Jazzman
Same glint waistcoat, same chapeau
He’ll be blowing ‘til the Muses
Tell their brother come on home.

66 thoughts on “Jazzman

  1. OH I like this! In the town where I come from Fort Smith Arkansas there is a place called the West-End. Interesting……there is also a Jazz place with an open mike and I love, when I get home, to visit and take in the atmosphere. Much like you have here! It’s so wonderful I think! I like this very much Mike! 😀

  2. Absolutely beautiful, Mike. 🙂

    Like me I see you too are inspired in your poetry by watching and listening to jazz musicians play.

    I’ve been inspired several times over the years in sitting down and writing a poem after I’ve seen a jazz musician play.

    I suppose it’s something about the nature of jazz itself that inspires such poetry.

    I often find that I wax poetical in my speech even if I don’t write anything down after watching a jazz concert.

    • You noticed my hat? I wear a different one for every poem 🙂 What pleases me more is that you heard the poetic elements in the beat and sound – sharp as a tack is my friend Jane. I thank you sincerely.

  3. I truly like this one dear Mike… Beauty is Truth, and Truth is Beauty.
    I found it powerful and passionate, such a music is…
    I love the ending… I bet he is still there In that Downtown East Side cellar, “He’ll be blowing ‘til the Muses… Tell their brother come on home”.
    Thanks for sharing. All the best to you, Aquileana 😀

    • Yes the ‘coda’ would appeal to you Aquileana touching as it does on your specialty of Greek mythology. I’m glad that you got into the groove here, many thanks for your considered feedback.

  4. Mike, this is wonderful, so much happening here. I can praise you endlessly for your poetic voice and structure, which is outstanding. This piece is so great, that I find I would like to share my experience with your words. So here goes. You have taken me for such a great ride, transporting me back in time, maybe late 50’s early 60’s. Written with such a cool tempo, creating a mood, an ambiance, suddenly I’m there. The visual imagery is fantastic. I smell the cigarette smoke, I see the flicker of the candlelight dancing about the room, I hear the ice clinking against the tumblers, all fabulous, not forgetting to mention that everyone there is completely captivated by the music. I’m going to guess “free jazz”, as I love the feeling that the Jazzman himself is totally lost in his own artistry. I have read this several times, and I love the poems that I, as the reader, return to over and over again. This is definitely one of those poems! Thank you!

    Warm wishes,

    • I bet I’ve re-read this comment more often than you’ve re-read the poem Pepperanne. I was only saying to a blogger recently how increasing amazed I am at the effect that the written word can have when put in poetic form. That my few lines have taken you to a fondly remembered atmosphere gives me gratification that I’m hard pressed to describe. What I do know is that your words will make the task of writing my next poem much easier due to the encouragement that this feedback has given me. Thank you Pepperanne for these gracious and benevolent words.

    • Thanks Bjorn for finding the atmosphere and the human element necessary to fully get into the groove of this piece. Great feedback and very encouraging.

  5. marcus says:

    Awesome work. We have a joint called The Cellar in Kitsalano just part of Vancouer BC. You reminded me of it. I should go and listen to the local blues and jazz kids play. Thank you for the nudge Sir Mike

    • The power of poetry to impel actions in others never ceases to amaze me Marcus. That it can be done with a mouseclick across hemispheres is almost as impressive. Glad this piece resonated (ugh, so bad) with you my lupine friend.

  6. You’ve really set the scene for us Mike, I can barely see through the swirls of smoke but love the syncopating rhythm, I love jazz but only in that I love the sound , I don’t know anything other than that and Ricky Lee Jones and Miles Davis and what a riff is. This piece is filled with cool imagery and hot ambiance …love it.

    • Glad you found the groove here H. It’s particularly nice when a fellow jazz lover sees to heart of what I was trying to do with this piece. My heartfired thanks.

  7. After reading calmgrove’s comment, is it possible to say anything more or in a better way? I also agree with John , the fifth line was really effective with that beautiful alliteration of the “b”. Great poem, as usual. 🙂

  8. Steve says:

    Thank you Mike; for, as I read this piece my mind, my ears, drifted back to the day in the early 60’s when I stood mesmerized outside a club on 52nd Street and listened to Dizzy Gillespie play dream making Jazz on his bent trumpet.

    • What a anecdote you add to this piece Steve! Having heard the ‘upturned bell’ live is like witnessing a piece of history. Your feedback adds great value to this post – many thanks.

  9. What a nice upbeat piece — sound, tempo, imagery evoking a momentary feeling compressed in an ‘East Side cellar ceiling lowered by candle glow..’ just superb!

  10. monocochlearmutineer says:

    I can’t add much to the previous comments except to say this is jazz personified. Would work extremely well as spoken word.

    • Your professionalism in spoken word on your YouTube Channel stands alone but this is not an ability that I possess so I’ll have to overlook your very flattering suggestion 😀

  11. Such an accomplished, near perfect piece for its technical skill and emotional punch — as a classical musician I can imagine that performance through precise phrases and vivid imagery. So much else to enjoy, rhythmic metre, recurrent rhyme, subtle but not overused alliteration amongst them. Also evoked 19th-century sensibilities and Anglo-Saxon kenning without slavish imitation. As I said, well-nigh perfect.

    • Goodness Cg your lavish interpretation is stunning and bounteous. And your words are weighted by your stated (and obvious) experience with the theme. This is high honour indeed and I am sincerely grateful to you.

  12. An ode to skill and dedication to craft and what i like most is that the poet doesn’t gush but rather chooses to reveal appreciation through well selected imagery;
    particularly satisfying for me are ‘Breathing brass into the bar-room’ (strong image and alliteration) and ‘Riffing tremolo up spine-bones’ – a frisson..and the fine fine closing lines.
    Well done, Mike!

    • Your thoughtful and considered analysis is articulate in a style that is your own John and your generosity is dispensed with liberal altruism. Thank you very much.

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