June 1, 2010

Jazz Poetry - "O-Jazz-O"

O-Jazz-O by Bob Kaufman
Where the string
some point,
Was umbilical jazz,
Or perhaps,
In memory,
A long lost bloody cross,
Buried in some steel cavalry.
In what time
For whom do we bleed,
Lost notes, from some jazzman's
Broken needle.
Musical tears from lost
Broken drumsticks, why?
Pitter patter, boom dropping
Bombs in the middle
Of my emotions
My father's sound
My mother's sound,
Is love,
Is life.

Cranial Guitar (1995)

Note: Bob Kaufman (1925 - 1986) was a Beat/surrealist poet inspired by jazz music. He was born in New Orleans, lived in New York during the 1940s and 1950s (where he met fellow Beats William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg), and then settled in San Francisco from 1958 until his death. Kaufman usually recited his poems and didn't write them down - his work survives because his wife, Eileen, transcribed the poems as he conceived them. His poetry used the syncopated rhythms and meter of jazz and particularly bebop. Kaufman described his own work this way: "My head is a bony guitar, strung with tongues, plucked by fingers and nails."

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