Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Sing The Blues For You Today ~ FIRST BLUETRY

I want to do poetry like Billy Holiday singing the blues
I want to do poetry like Ella Fitzgerald
I want to be me singing my holiday blues
Billie’s songs are poetry so fine it makes me think I’m her doing rhyme
Thoughts about Billie make me go off line, hook line & sinker; she puts me back in time
I sing to my lover, I want to make your poetry mine because you spout rhymes
Observing my life become an unending grocery list of things to get done
Your life or mine, yours is on my mind - the list of to dos keeps growing exponentially
Number 1, try out a mattress, 2, buy it, 3, buy new locks to keep someone out number 4, find someone to install it, make 10 million calls. Keep writing lists. What did you say? How many sessions, any lessons in storage? Will the Divine power of intervention help?
I don’t want to bore you with the details and derail you from my song.
Damn, wonder if I’ll ever see Willa Dean again– oh man, you know the women I mean
Kept her head wrapped up like an African Queen with her creamy coffee looking self.
Willa said the secret to good potato salad is to go heavy on the mayo
Willa Dean days, they’re all in a haze now. I was so high back then.
The memory lingers, listening & watching while she told stories. She’d whisper, her voice barely a breeze, tell me about her lovers, say, “I’m gonna get me some.” … I’d get confused & asked, did she mean her husband or lover. Willa’d have dinner waiting when her husband got tired of driving a cab & came home to rest. She’d show me wilted lettuce and bring it back to life telling me about her lovers, drugs, & children while making potato salad.
I thought - she’s a woman of many talents, a stoned cold junkie and a working mom combined
The nose that knows, her preference was coke, good moist coke at a good right price too on the upper - upper west side in Washington Heights, 162nd street to be exact
Willa was friends with a famous New York jazzman and his wife, a New York City teacher. Willa had class & style combined; she took me to dress models at the Ritz one time. Got paid for it too. It was such a pleasure to do. I even got a pair of designer gloves out of it.
People accepted Willa everywhere we went –
We were at jazzman’s apartment, small tight crowded living room upper west side 90’s.
Willa’s friend sat across from me staring at my big breasts. I can see how tight your muscles are.
Let me massage you she said aggressively
hurting me so bad physically we had an argument instead.
Passing through hundreds of lives so many colors
Let me take you back to what we share - strivings for love – wanting to go somewhere –
Wanting to discover who we really are ~
see ourselves through the eyes of others and – finally see who we really are.
Extend this power to the umpteenth degree. We still wonder who they think we are ~
Uncover recover to turn to return to who we want to be
Dreams are reality - stop thinking, dreams are the color of my true love’s hair
Beyond the color of my true love’s hair, his dreads caress my bare hands
A whole-years grocery list pressed into a foggy mist of autumn red
turns bright chartreuse before bleakly the list dissolves before my eyes
True colors make my heart sneeze amidst a perpetual mist of violet-blues
a dream more real than a memory


  1. Anonymous7:35 AM

    I like this .. there is some much here..
    The part about the mayonnaise made me chuckle... it reminded me of something JC told me before about why he hates things with mayo... from his prison days.. you never know what was really in it in prison.. I think it also became a vernacular for something else..LOL..

    I do like the feel of this story here...

    hugs to you..

  2. Note to self: Read Joy's poetry only when alone in quiet house, as yesterday in said quiet house after reading "The Furrier & Me," I was inspired to write a poem about having to leave the couch and drive a standard transmission in the fog to pick up The Child, who one day will be out driving herself as I worry, or try not to worry.

    But today The Husband is on the phone and The Child has on Sponge Bob and I cannot feel my own magic.

  3. This is great ... I love Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. The younger generation has no idea what it's missing.


  4. Struck the chords with Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Joy...
    A jazzsong-poem this is and again, your wit is so amazing. The ending line/verse is something I will memorize for my own pleasure:

    "True colors make my heart sneeze amidst a perpetual mist of violet-blues
    a dream more real than a memory"

  5. Anonymous11:32 AM

    I grew up loving jazz. Within my collection of collection of Kiss, BTO, and whatever was popular at the time albums, was Billie Holiday's "Lady Sings the Blues", Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, Oscar Petersen, Cole Porter, Dizzy, and others. No one else in the family was interested in blues except me.

    Reading Joy's words reminded me a couple of holidays alone. Treasuring the few visits, milling about the apartment till I got stir crazy. Finally I got friends in the same boat and we had quiet get-togethers. Throughout the holidays it would float from one house to another. It not only made the holidays bearable but brought it more into focus.

  6. Merry Christmas you two. Peace, love, harmony, and success to you both!


  7. This is some really good stuff Joy :)

  8. I love this poem. It's a blues song for sure. It was especially fun featuring together & accompanying you.

  9. Love the jazz in this and - "Dreams are the color of my true love's hair"...what a fantastic line. You have a strong voice, sincere, and palpable. I look forward to reading more.

  10. Anonymous8:09 PM

    you're right joy, I really liked this, the melancholy of melancholy maybe, loved the fusion and diffusion, sang me the blues joy, sang me the blues

  11. Happy nude year. May it be good to you and if not, I'll go over there to N.Y. and kick its ass!

    P.S. I posted 2 poems yesterday, one with pansies. Not as great as Joy Leftow or Billy Collins offerings but a hundred damnsights better than the crap I was grinding out 20 years ago.