"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
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
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
the blues he's a lover
in lyrical madness
Hearing the guitar
way back inside of me
all over my mind
to the very last summit
doing the Hucklebuck.
by Sterling Plump
put a moving in my father
saw it ripe as liver
And they made
the image they dreamed
saw gods in their strides,
feisty bold, desires tiled
like derby hats. As
put a moving in my father.
saw him down
on his spirit/breathing
legends into brown eyes.
roots of sudden power.
tastes of green simmons
To suck groans from smiles.
they pocketed the meaning
in their genes and
kept eveil out
side vows in their dance.
quietness to flames in loins.
to clenched fists.
left shadows of lynchings and
them above creation
put a moving in my father
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.