Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jazz Appreciation Month


Move to their 
own beat, but
keep the melody.
Improvise, and
work in harmony.
Sing the blues, yet
make it through.
Jump sometimes,
Bop in long lines, or
merge in fusion.
Never stop swingin’.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. This initiative has been spear-headed by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. Go to for a history of the initiative and information regarding this year's celebration.

In perusing the Smithsonian's site, I realized that there are three L's that can help us participate in this month-Learn, Listen and Local.

  1. Learn more about the art form. This includes the history and contemporary jazz. Read a book or do research online.  The Smithsonian Jazz Site has oral histories of NEA Jazz Masters. You may listen or read a transcript. The site also has the "Today in Jazz History" calendar, which gives you a day-by-day accounting of some of the music's most important events.
  2. Listen to the music. After all, that is really what the art form is about. Settle in with some old favorites or use your research to explore some new artists. 
  3. Support your local musicians, clubs and radio stations. If there is a museum or musicians birthplace in your area support that, too. Art inspires other art so there may be jazz poets or visual artists who incorporate jazz influences in their work. Give them a look or listen, too.
Most importantly, continue to enjoy and celebrate the music all year long.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tournament Time

Tournament Time

The ball travels
 from hand to floor
        hand to floor
         hand to floor.
The rhythm as steady
as the clock ticking down.

Suddenly, the thumping stops.
The player takes the shot.
Will it be a swish?
Kiss the backboard and drop in?
Clang! It ricochets off the rim.

Game over.
Another team gets bounced.

Thanks to Carol Early Cooney for this week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt-Bounce.  What's your response to bounce? Put a link to it in the comments on the prompt post.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring

It’s the first day of spring.
Daylight and darkness are equal,
but, for me, it’s the longest
day of the year.

Humans get so excited
when they see me.
I wish I knew who
started that myth
about seeing the
first robin of spring.
Besides, I don’t control
the weather.

Late snows aren’t a 
picnic for me either.
Flying in that stuff is brutal.
No one de-ices me and
I don’t have windshield wipers.
I get tired of eating frozen food
and don’t get me started on
shoveling out the nest.

Well, it’s only 24 hours.
Then, I can go back
to being just another
one of the birds.

This poem was written in response to this week's prompt on Poetic Asides.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I saw this week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt-Tired, which was provided by Rebecca Barray, when it was posted last Thursday. It just so happened that I was attending an event at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art that evening. I took my camera along in case I had time to go to the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park after the presentation was finished.

When I got to the park, daylight was waning, but the moon was bright. The downward curve of so many branches in this tree gave me the sense that they were tired at the end of another windy day. I hope they had a restful night.

What do you think of when you hear the word tired? Let us know by commenting on the blog post for this prompt.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blue Notes

Blue Notes

Blue notes are soft and low.
I am drawn to the sound.
Reminds me of the pain
wrapped 'round me like a chain.

I inhale the music,
hold it in my lungs then
exhale real slow.
Reluctant to let go.

Blue notes fill the air.
They aren't going anywhere.
So, I let them embrace me
like arms I cannot see.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I think most of us experience anticipation related to certain foods or meals. Certainly children look forward to Halloween candy or birthday cake, especially their own. In Kansas City, I look forward to going out for barbecue. When I visit my hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., I can't wait to have chicken wings or beef on 'weck.

During my childhood, especially, I looked forward to the time when my Mother would start baking Christmas cookies. When I was very young, I helped by taste-testing the fruits and nuts that would be used in the various recipes. I also tested the dough because we didn't know then that you shouldn't eat it before it is baked. Of course, the best part was just spending time with my Mom or my Mom and my sister.

I still make two of the cookies at Christmas. I don't feel the same anticipation now that I bake them myself. However, I know that the people I share them with look forward to getting them each year. For that, I am very grateful.

Are there any foods that you always look forward to having?

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

In the Shadows

In the Shadows

I feel the shadows
hang over me.
The absence of warmth
caused by the shade.
The weight of the past
that I carry with me
always but feel more
at times like these.
The knowledge of
what is lost and
what will never be.
Still, if I squint hard
enough, I  see the form
that reminds me to 
listen for the music,
even in the darkness.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sometimes a Photo Bomb May Be a Windfall

I was out on a morning walk and noticed the moon. I like to photograph the moon "sitting" on different things, like roofs or trees branches. This time, I wanted the moon to look like it was doing a high-wire act. When I downloaded the pictures, I saw that I had gotten photo bombed by a bird. Instead of ruining the shot, the bird enhanced it. That is a photographer's windfall.

Thank's to Kasie Whitener for this week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt-Windfall. Tell us about your windfalls in the comments on the blog post.

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