June 3, 2016

A Poem by Martin H. Levinson: "All that Jazz."

Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.

All that Jazz

I was born in Brooklyn not the bayous
  but I dug Big Easy improvisation,
polyrhythms, syncopation, swing notes,
  blue notes, key notes, speed boats, Scott

Joplin’s multi-strain Maple Leaf Rag, makes
  me want to zig and zag, wish that Scottie was
my dad, Satchmo’s trumpet, gravelly voice,
  Louie was the people’s choice, Thelonius Monk,

Coltrane fugues, Miles Davis made the news
  with his album Bitches Brew, a rock-funk stew,
song breakthrough, McCoy Tyner deigned to
  use pentatonic scales with fifths and fourths, I’m

talking ‘bout jazz of course, hard bop, post bop,
  Dixieland, Herbie Hancock’s baby grand, strong
backbeat, lots of heat, his keyboard playing oh so
  sweet, smooth as silk like Lady Day, her arpeggio

phrases fine filet, I loved the scat, Ella’s éclat,
  soul jazz, smooth jazz, punk jazz, nu jazz, Basie’s
Rhythm and Blues Revue, Boogie Woogie beat, bebop
  too, Stan Getz, cool jazz, hot and true, Cotton Club

and Prohibition, Duke Ellington is on a mission,
  bring to whites refrains from blacks, uptown Harlem,
Cadillacs, Charlie Mingus, bassist bard, Gospel tunes,
  avant garde, jazz rap, free jazz, fusion, jazz core, jazz

a construct and an uproar of emotion plus devotion
  to Isaac Newton’s laws of motion, jazz riffs cascade
through my brain, they take me to a higher plane:

  vu, du, shu, wee, zee, bee, dwee,
dop, bop, vop, dot, bot, zot, schwee,
  dit, fit, lit, wit, pop, sop, pro
ragu, zat, Geronimo!

~Martin H. Levinson 

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