Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wanda VanHoy Smith


A call on Saturday night from my jazz pal
BeBop Beverly who says on my phone.
Tomorrow, the tall sax man Pete and his short
trombone player partner Linda will introduce their
new CD at a big band concert at the Light House.”
'I'LL be there,” I promise. This is the sort of
day I need to inspire and set my muse on fire.
The Lighthouse Cafe gave birth to West Coast jazz
with cats like Shorty Rogers and his Giants.
Bev offers me a ride which I appreciate
I always have trouble accepting help graciously,
I spend a restless night shivering from a California
amazingly freezing cold snap and anticipation.
The first amazing event of this amazing Sunny Sunday
in Hermosa Beach is that we find a place not far
from the legendary jazz club to park her car.
We walk through the clubs back door in ghostly foot
prints of all star jazz greats Jerry Mulligan and
Chet Baker who made instruments cook tasty jazz,
Drinks in the club are Dizzy and Cannonball.
A short girl stands on the stage in front of a
eleven piece band and masters a tall trombone.
The two band Leaders have titled their amazing CD
TALL AND SMALL because Pete is a giant and Linda short
It is amazing magic to me that Linda Small
and her giant saxophone partner are introducing their
CD where Shorty Rogers and his Giants were famous.
At the end of the last set I go to Pete's table
facing a group of old jazz fan friends at the bar.
Pete sells the Tall and Small CD I ask “How much?”
Before I can open my purse, a new acquaintance jumps
up from the bar slaps down a bill and says
The pleasure is mine to give you the CD
I like the way the music makes your eyes shine
and lights up your face.”
The gallant stranger leaves before I can protest or
thank him with amazing grace.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jerry Garcia

Cover Band

Clash cymbal disperses
into salted beer reeking saloon
glass tinkle blends with human walla.
Hootchie mammas brazenly laugh,
making wallflower boys demur
even more.
Five guys not named Moe,
not candidates of groupie affection,
crowd onto ripped carpet
on a grimy wooden riser.
Distorted plug-in squeals
metallic guitar tuning shrieks
tom-tom clunks
bass line glissandos.
Drummer counts triplets on sticks,
chk, chk, chk,
and a Hammond B3 roars
awfully big organ for this tiny tavern.
That’s how a computer tech, an accountant
and three lawyers escape anonymity;
reaching that place just a little better
than minor obscurity.
These everyday guys become Big Brother
and somehow that burley accountant sounds
just like Janis Joplin.
Subsonic rhythm
propelling beer barrel boob jobs
onto the dance floor.
Heathers, Tiffanies and Jennifers,
flat as bar tap ginger ale,
crowd into crotches
of two drink minimum guys.
Those girls work it out
like they were dancing for tips.
The resonating stage apparently shuffles toward  
this evangelized freak of a crowd,
over-driving Marshall amplifiers assert massive reverb,
the computer tech pounds vintage Ludwig traps.
Dog-eared fake books topple from amplifiers
plastic water bottles roll past distortion control pedals.
These Wilshire Blvd honchos
reel and wail like they were Little Feat.
The guitar playing lead attorney
mugs like he were Lowell George himself,
the mosh pit swarms bigger, drunker, dumber.
Santana riffs buzz while bouncers sweep
doobie-smoking patrons off the floor.
Sentimental tears well up
because the CPA has energized into Robert Plant.
Power chords and keyboard trills
render strident blasts at my brain,
ears start to hemorrhage,
omigod it’s like Eddie Van Halen-loud.
White noise cottons up my wits
percussive, stinging, chord heavy rocknroll
segues to a thumping dance floor
throbbing with intoxicated vibrato.
Slowing it down a bit
the reproduction rock stars sing
Carter Family style with five-part harmony
practically a cappella.
The boys are working harder than ever
trying to make wooden music play
for a battle of the bands crowd.
Stoned revelers return to the whisky bar
leaving this swag-bearing idiot
alone at the stage
applauding each note
that doesn’t fall

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Scott C. Kaestner

johnny cash pandora

of whisky
route 66
a cold

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Terry McCarty


met Leo Kottke
at the flagship store
on Sunset Boulevard
the very same place
where I saw Leif Garrett
and Justine Bateman shopping
and I knew to leave them alone
giving them the chance
to pretend to be ordinary people
the yellow-and-red
bagged and tagged
Tower experience
won't ever come back,
though I love the big Amoeba store
near the Cinerama Dome--
to engage in the dwindling
record chain-store experience
I have to drive to the South Bay
and patronize what used to be
Wherehouse and Sam Goody stores
it's harder to motivate myself
to travel so far for just that purpose
with iTunes and Spotify and
all the streaming audio services
we never knew we'd need--
amazing how the recession
and corporate mismanagement
turned the pleasure
of going somewhere
to buy music to own
for possibly a lifetime
into the same kind of
arcane, endangered,
inessential activity
as buying physical books
or tickets to theaters
that still show movies on film

Monday, May 21, 2012

Raundi Moore-Kondo


Aretha’s Gold was the only thing that came from the cassette
player on the nightstand next to the bed. I’d listened, half asleep,
to Side B more than a dozen times a day for three hot, and sweaty
sad months. It was only a coincidence that “Respect” is on Side A.

Some moods are too low for changing sides or fast forwarding
tapes. There isn’t a song on that album that didn’t rub my broken
bosom into a chocolatewhisky stained face. No motivation was found
for picking through un-alphabetized shoebox collections. Besides,

I couldn't abandon Aretha when she needed me most. The newspapers
had piled up in a "do not disturb" trench. I was fine eating cereal,
and without any milk, as long as there was still some wine to wash
it all down. I developed a new form of astrology based on constellations

that had formed in the popcorn of my acoustic ceiling. My Jupiter
is conjunct his mid-heaven. His moon is in direct opposition
to the cobwebs of my broken rotary fan. No wonder. We'd been doomed
since birth. I had long talks with her--told her to forget him. That no man

was worth that kind of pain. She was the Queen of Soul, for God’s sake.
But nothing I said changed anything. The tape took me through the first
of October.  Just as the dew point achieved a record low and the smog
levels reached a record high, the cellophane got tangled up in the spindles.

Chain of Fools snapped right in half. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Terry McCarty


it's in the state charter now
everybody who's not cut out for
traditional marriage has to
hide in a closet
and pass for straight
and never ever ever ever
bother the people of North Carolina
unless you live in liberal areas
like Chapel Hill or Carrboro--
you know, those places
with know-it-all eggheads
who like activist judges

the closet's going to get bigger
and bigger just like the stateroom
in The Marx Brothers movie
and eventually people will spill out
with the door off its hinges

then, the 61% will have to
put their moral values on a scale
and weigh what Jesus actually said
or didn't say in the Bible about LGBTs
versus all the hate that pastors
named (and not named) Graham
pump into them like IV drips
in an ancient hospital
where the windows are nailed shut
and painted black
to keep out the light.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Audrey Allen

View from my car at 5 o’clock

The man at the bus stop was reading an old hardback. They don’t make them like that anymore.

And my light turns green so I gas up and move on.

There’s a woman going into a cigarette shop. Silver heels towering. She must be 8 feet tall. Black ribbons around her ankles lacing up and up and the softest roll of calf, peek of thigh, an old ribbed knee.

I pull myself out of the car and swat at bugs. Flies. I must taste like a rotting fruit. Blue veins pumping something sickly sweet.

And I look up at the moon, hanging crooked in the sky. Half there. The sun a burnt thing, sliding away behind all that dead stuff on the mountains. Orange and gray.

Not night and not day.

The worst time of the day. The time when the loonies lose it a little more. When the old men squeeze up their faces a little tighter and the bagger boy at the grocery store punches a hole right through the brown paper.

Figs. I buy the big green ones. Ripe inside.

I sit on the 2 feet of porch that I have and hide behind my massive hibiscus plant. I’m peeling figs, getting at all that purple. Sun slipping away. Cigarette burning at the tip and the bottle of whiskey is sweating it out in the icebox.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rina Rose


Not the best of times
Even experiencing pain
I don’t fear the reaper
learning to appreciate its disappearance
When my body warms
I am rockin’ down the highway

Each day after the sun rises
I complete yesterday’s unfinished tasks
– a promised land of goals and deadlines–
Where will I be at day’s end?

Breaking through morning’s cerebral fog
a Black Water
challenging wisdom and concentration
I work clearing uncooperative mental pathways

Sometimes there is no easy livin’
nevertheless tranquil intervals
allow an unworried walk through tempests

If dawn does not bring the sun
If black clouds fill the sky
If everything I know fails
I hope you dance with me
anticipating veiled miracles

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lalo Kikiriki

That ribbon of highway

One more time we're
weaving through Morongo,
Lay Down Sally
playing on the Eagle,
down the Pass with
the bassline bumping
and the windmills slapping time.

No matter what
is on the radio,
the long blades always
seem to keep the beat
and we sing,
"Doncha ever leave" like
the colored girls doot 'n' dooed
for Lou Reed...

but we're leaving the wild side,
the desert is behind,
and the next song stutters
at White water,
"she had to -hic- me right
"... the river...
as if, like vampires,
rock-n-roll balks
at running water
and the desert radio
loses its wild power
in the white noise of
the city's frequency

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Radek Ozog


I wonder if Lennon survived the
5 shots would it be gangster

I know the media would eat
it all up.

Would Paul McCartney take

Aye, and that flashily-dressed rocket man.

Elton John, symbol of
a bullet.