Day 1 – New look blog, new NaPoWriMo season … same old chaos

Having successfully completed last year’s NaPoWriMo I was all set to come into this year, with a plan, well-organised & a task list of things I wanted to achieve. (I have a folder of articles I think might be great starting points for poems; I have ideas for poems which when written will go in yet into yet-to-be-completed collections; I have snippets of lines I want to expand into a poem; I have titles without poems beneath them.)

Naturally that was all knocked out the window within the first 24 hours …

To be fair, I have submitted 11 poems to 5 separate competitions in the past 3 days (including one which was only sent off at 11.51pm to make a midnight deadline — thanks Sarah R for late night editing advice, we didn’t fix everything but fixed a lot more than I would have by myself.)

& so to today…

On Wednesday that self-same Sarah, challenged me to write a poem (actually three) for her. The prompts were:

  • Jazz (she knows my fondness for the form)
  • “I have been called …”
  • Resurrection

I have been efficient (or lazy, depending on your perspective) & combined them into one glorious evocation which cogently & (moderately) briefly articulates my views of the genre (including some of my favourite quotes)

((heehee, chuckling already just thinking of some of them))

(((nothing like making enemies on day 1 of NaPoWriMo)))

I think of it as a Comic Narrative Collage Poem (for those writing essays on it)

NB: I openly concede I have occasionally appropriated &/or transmutated the words of others without attribution, but as the wise ones say: stealing from one author is plagiarism, stealing from many is research

& so:

*****

litany: a fair & comprehensive critique of Jazz

in the beginning
i have been called many names
few of them kind
simply for expressing
not my distaste, but rather
my total lack of interest
in jazz

musical interlude I
just so i’m being fair (ho ho ho)
i’ve dug out a few old mp3’s
(sorry purists & your obsession
with lossless files the size
of our larger country towns)
& they’re in the background now
helping give me context
Sonny Rollins & Dave Brubeck’s foursome
& Miles Davies who’s feeling Kind of Blue
(no kidding if you’re listening to what you’re playing)

research: google proving
jazz sucks 1.39 million googles
i hate jazz — 23 million googles
why jazz is bad 122 million googles

quotes by better minds than i
sure it might be cheap & easy shots
to repeat some zingers from better minds than i
about why jazz is not the wonderful art form
its many beret wearers contend
so with that commendation
i gleefully will

the cons
like toddlers let loose in a music room

music invented for the torture of imbeciles

it has a bad name because some of it’s crap & it’s boring

choppy noise pretending to make music out of traffic jams

live jazz — two words which find my hands instinctively shooting up to protect my ears

there are two types of people in this world, people who like jazz & people who would rather perforate their ear drums with rusty knitting needles than listen to it

like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter associating with
(though some take this as a compliment)

& as el Barto famously claims
ahhh… cartoons America’s only native art form — i don’t count jazz because it sucks

musical interlude II
hmmm, old boy’s club isn’t doing it for me
so have downloaded tracks from Ambrose Akinmusire’s album
“The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint” (wtf?)
(apparently he’s a hip hot young thing on the jazz scene)
so how’s that for open minded
what a fair & balanced old fox am i
to boldly go where i have long avoided going

testimonials from actual people
i love jazz! i listen to it in bed — it helps me fall asleep
i put Theolonius Monk on for brunch when my in-laws come over
it’s so soothing — i play it when i’m studying or reading
i always play it after sex — helps the ladies out of my bed & into their taxi quicker

claims against its greatness
it’s elitist, pretentious
bastion of testosterone
did i mention catch all for pretension
or at least many pretentious folk flock to it

two words: smooth jazz
two more words: jazz fusion

it’s mostly dreck

musical interlude III
that wasn’t working either so gone back to basics:
“Let’s Get Acquainted with Jazz — For People Who Hate Jazz”
[a mono vinyl rip] — & suddenly i’m transported
to the mid 50’s & the little lady is bringing out
whores derves for our happening dinner party

the pros
if you’re expecting a resurrection
where i claim after listening to it
i am now a convert, sorry to disappoint
however in the interest of fairness

jazz isn’t: methodical, but isn’t messy either
(oh, that makes sense now, thank you)

jazz is: smooth & cool … rage … flows like water … never seems to begin or end (well it never seems to end, i’ll give you that, sorry sorry)

((i know i probably should refrain from commenting
on all of these positive ones — but it’s just too much fun))

(((where was i?)))

it’s a conversation … a give & take … a connection & communication between musicians
(perhaps, but don’t you think you should consider your audience a bit too)

washes away the dust of everyday life
(that one’s actually quite lovely, but i find water does just as well
& doesn’t make my ears bleed)

musical interlude IV ends abruptly
/my god, my god — do you never stop
this one track has been playing
in the back ground stomping on my brain
noodling along for what feels like days
never ending noodling
noodle noodle noodle
high hat high hat
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
da-da-da dah toot
back to “Shake it Off” for me

arguments against “my not getting it”
if your taste was better cultivated, you’d be able to appreciate it
implication:
like mine is, like i do
(sorry but if jazz were better i would like it
whether or not i could evaluate it on an intermellectual level)

improvisation is EXTREMELY hard
aka:
you don’t like jazz because you can’t play it
(i can’t play any musical instrument in any sort of pleasing way
but that doesn’t stop me liking whole swags of musical styles)

you can’t criticise jazz without understanding it
(um, if it looks like shit & smells like shit
i don’t need to taste it to find out it is shit)

perhaps it’s not jazz music that’s the problem
it’s jazz musicians

or more alarmingly — jazz aficionados

in summation
it’s annoying noise
it’s annoising

repetitive without being groovy
improvisational without being original

if a musician hits the wrong note
they keep playing & try not to hit it again
jazz players hit it again … & again … & again

to be serious for just a moment though
any system where Nina Simone & Ella Fitzgerald
are described by the same word which
includes the warblings of Kenny G & Michael Bublé
is seriously flawed

so there, you’ve caught me out
some early jazz vocalists i don’t not not hate

my idea of hell is being trapped
between the 88th & 89th floor
of a burning skyscraper
& not fearing i’ll fall, but worrying
the smooth jazz soundtrack
piping through the tinny sound system
will last longer than the cable

the best thing about jazz is there’s no chance
of getting a melody stuck in your head
which is great because who wants
jazz stuck in your head anyway

but the final damning nail in the jazz coffin has to be:
that Star Trek: The Next Generation’s
Commander William T. Riker loves it
& he’s the biggest douche out beyond the final frontier

critique complete.

*****

riker eyes

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