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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Three Great Poems about Three Great Musicians

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
--Red Auerbach
"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
--Maya Angelou


Today, the daddy is thinking of three great poets and a poem each one wrote about a great musician.

Joyce Carol Thomas was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma. She now lives in California where she writes and teaches Spanish. Her books of poetry include "Bittersweet" in 1973, "Crystal Breezes" in 1974, "Blessings" in 1975, and "Inside the Rainbow."


Sterling Plump was born in Clinton, Mississippi. He is an instructor in the African American Studies Program at the University of Illinois. He has published numerous collections of poetry, including "Portable Soul" in 1969, "Half Black, Half Blacker" in 1970, "Muslim Men" in 1972, "The Mojo Hand Calls, I Must Go" in 1982, and "Blues, the Story Always Untold" in 1989.

A.B. Spellman was born in Nixonton, North Carolina. He is a poet and jazz critic. He is also a founding member of the Black Arts Movement. His books include "The Beautiful Days," a book of poetry, and "Four Jazz Lives," a book of jazz criticism. Mr. Spellman has worked for 30 years as a director and deputy chairman of the Endowment for the Arts. His most recent book is the highly acclaimed "Things I Must Have Known."

Poem for Otis Redding
by Joyce Carol Thomas

Listening to the man
straight from
the Georgia woods
sitting on the Dock of the Bay
claiming NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN
YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT

I get high every time
he starts to climb
that sweet soul mountain
dusting the air
with steep gotta gotta gottas
and criggy uh uh uhs

Weeping some slow fast
rhymes of love
measuring out
the blues he's a lover
in lyrical madness

Hearing the guitar
screaming
way back inside of me
stirring, jumping
all over my mind
then clinging
to the very last summit
doing the Hucklebuck.

Muddy Waters
by Sterling Plump

He
put a moving in my father
I
saw it ripe as liver
hung
up
on hog
killing day.
And they made
the image they dreamed
from it.
I
saw gods in their strides,
feisty bold, desires tiled
like derby hats. As
they made
space. He
put a moving in my father.
I
saw him down
on his spirit/breathing
legends into brown eyes.
Jump
roy
roots of sudden power.
Mixed
tastes of green simmons
and garlic.

To suck groans from smiles.
As
they pocketed the meaning
in their genes and
kept eveil out
side vows in their dance.
Turned
quietness to flames in loins.
Shocked
segregated fingers
to clenched fists.
As
men paraded.
They
left shadows of lynchings and
made images.
Hung
them above creation
to drip
on generations.

He
put a moving in my father

Bobby's Ballad
by A.B. Spellman

bobby hutcherson is playing polka dots
and moonbeams & it's so clean & pretty
you'll miss the lyric if you listen live. bobby
tests you to hear a voice on the other side of beauty
that asks then answers the questions
you never thought to pose. his vibes lift a soft
tintinabuluation to the ballroom's cornices
where the notes merge as bell tones do
then float back down upon us. if you could descry
bobby's song with your prismatic eye
it would describe a silver rain

i'm remembering bobby as i knew him
in 1964 on the lower east side
when nothing stopped anything we tried
we learned the discipline of freedom
& tuned our minds with the substance
of the hour--- it could be weed, it could be
war, it could instant, disposable love
it could be any of our little teen y revolutions

but now at the frisco bay his voice weighs
much more as i hope mines does. he's found
the balance that we fought to escape
& it's better than it was though the people
we used to be would laugh at us & call us
square. this is the failure of happiness
it stands casually in the mind of now
& pulls a reflecting shade down the eyes
so it can admire itself uninterrupted
carpe diem my ass: the now has no body
save what eidetc form reflection lays upon it

such is the truth of bobby's song
as he floats plump effulgent polka dots
into the argent beams of the bayside moon.

2 comments:

rainywalker said...

"He's found the balance that we fought to escape," I'm feeling this way back, like something I want to hold on to and be selfish with.

MacDaddy said...

rainywalker: Yes. That's a deep insight from a very good poet. I love the part of Joyce Carol Thomas poem where she says,
"I get high every time
he starts to climb
that sweet soul mountain." If you've heard and appreciate Otis, they have to appreciate the idea of a "sweet soul mountain." And they know the reason: that, whereas other soul singers of his time may have had better voices (Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Wilson Picket, etc.), none sang with more passion, more conviction. For example, his rendition of Sam Cooke's "Change is Gonna Come" is better than Cooke's.
The same for another Cooke's song called "You Send Me." He sang with such a feel for the song, with so much passion.