Sunday, January 31, 2016

Experience the culture

is more than the surface of it all, you know

there's the quartets, quintets, big bands
trumpets, saxophones, drum sets

there's the standards
from Broadway, TV, movies
the bop tunes
those great Wayne Shorter songs
we all hum down the street

there's the legends

there's the informal formalness
jam sessions
cutting contests
hangs galore

there's the soloing
the going in
the complete release of inhibition

there's the directness of it
channeling the true self
channeling a higher being
channeling God

there's the history of it
the blues aren't from a textbook
this music was made from blood
this music was made from people
that had no other way to make it
than to live through it

this stuff, this jazz we all talk so much about
is real
is raw
is authentic

this stuff, jazz,
isn't made in a school, a book, in a recipe
you can't just buy two eggs, some flour
and sugar and wait for it to come out of the oven
you can't just buy a book of magic spells
or take a potion and start playing lines

this stuff - jazz -
is made out there
in real time
with real people
in real places

and to anyone that labels it as a music...
I'd dare you to go out there, close your eyes, feel the vibes and
experience the culture.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I can always turn to scat

When I find I have nothing to say 
I can always turn to scat


Sunday, January 17, 2016

New York jazz

I guess I hadn't really heard jazz
until I heard it in New York
I mean I have the records
I have the tapes
I know all the clubs in the area
I read the books, bios
I follow the news, magazines
but when you walk those concrete streets
clippity clop clippity clop
and you squeeze into those jam-packed clubs
Blue Note
Jazz Standard
Village Vanguard
there's a legacy
there's an honor
there's a precedence
you get a picture no show can give you
life is hard
and in New York you hear it
be a bop a zippity zoop
a be a boo op a zee
za zee a la oo op
New York is where pastel turns to photography.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

When you go to a jazz concert

When you go to a jazz concert
you never know what to expect

first it's the anticipation, the drive there
humming in your head, humming aloud
tapping against the steering wheel
a be a bop a be a bop

then you get there, park, walk in the club
and it's cool it's dim it's crowded
chitter chatter chitter chatter
you get your seat, order a drink
maybe introduce yourself to others
maybe just lay low
look in awe at the stage
the lights shining down, the music in stacks,
the instruments on stands
you feel that something
is going to happen

then the lights get dimmer, clapping erupts
they're on! the show is starting!
and with a strut, a swag, a fierceness
a sense of self, these musicians pour onto the stage

and with a bang, the first note
and with fire they're off
be bop a zee a doop da dee!
a bap a la dee oh!
za be a la boo a la be op!

the sounds go up and down and around
and forwards and backwards
spiraling, curling, dancing, zig zagging
a meditation of dance

you hear blue, purple, green yellow - a painting
you hear a biography, a narrative, a joke - a book
you hear bricks, iron, steel - a building holding you up

you hear sadness, pain, melancholy
you hear joy, celebration, excitement
you hear love, loss, resilience
all emotions, all human, all real

and the thing is these songs go beyond sound,
beyond here, beyond now
they take you inward
they send you outward
until they become intrinsically you

so when you leave it's as if you never left
the blur of excitement, the rush of rebirth
you drive in a haze, you ponder in a dream
the sounds of bebop echoing each step
be bop be bop be bop

when you go to a jazz concert
you never know what to expect.

Sunday, January 3, 2016



a sound that pops
a rhythm that give 'em
a sound so profound
a dance, a prance, a trance
smoking, joking, provoking
lines that zig zag
lines that spiral
lines that go up, down
but never lie around
it's forward it's fierce
energy energy energy
it's us - not the system -
who we really are
it's hard work it's social work
eat sleep and breathe
it's all so fast so lighting fast
it's over in a blink
with a bit of sass and a wink.

Starting today, Without a Poem will be published one time a week. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016



Organized religion
and prayer meetings
have never come into my natural diet
by as I set eyes on the future
and admire the present
I feel a strength
I feel a witness
to something more
so I pray for myself
I pray for others.

Friday, January 1, 2016



as I see in the sunrise
as I see in the sunset
is organic
is authentic
as I see in the waves
as I see in the clouds
as I see in the birds chirping
is natural.