I watched them gig

in the pit

playing funky jazz licks

in modal timbres

made me squirm.


I thought,

IÕll blow this place

when this babe be-bopped from behind

hands in my hair

said we can really groove.



I danced through the night

till light

cut a ray

through her ceramic face


cracking beauty

into puzzle fragments.


she started to sing

the blues.





His fingers blur

grenedilla wood

and improvises

ebony with silver

as the sweet colors

of a clarion call

pulsate the room

with a staggered step

and the rhythm

gets your body swaying

and fingers tapping

to the incantations

from his black magic wand

pointed skyward

like a unicornÕs horn

even the dim lights bop

to the two beat bounce

on the dark dance floor

while the Dixieland man

lost in his world

excites your soul.





ThereÕs not just one, it depends on the style,

the performer and his instrument.

Like the one thatÕs the favorite

of trumpet players, you know,

the one with the crumpled face

and the pained look of focus

just before he blasts high C.

Every note in the upper range

becomes a new source of agony.

Then thereÕs the face

of philosophical perplexity,

the one used by trombone players

when they reach higher than they should,

eyebrows lifted against the hairline,

chin extended and tucked into the throat,

usually during a technical lick  in numerous positions.

Of course, there are the sax players

and their ballads, eyelids nearly closed,

head in a languorous droop

that sometimes lolls back

and swivels side to side

to help kick in an arousing vibrato.

And then the drummer

with his classic wild man look,

crazy faced with the fixed grin

and scary stare, like heÕs about

to lurch off his seat, unlike

the piano player, the aristocrat

with his proud, confident posture,

convinced that for the next few hours

he and his ensemble own your soul,

how he notices youÕve immersed yourself

in the excitement and emotion of the music,

with your intense squint and locked grin,

that empathetic grimace

especially obvious when your head bobs feverishly

in a contagious yet effusive sign of approval.





Walls pulsate

on waves

of rhythmic Stravinsky jokes.


Crickets scratch song

to throated gurgles

of a bubbling spring.


Soft rain dances rooftop

and strokes panes

on a mild breeze



vague shadows

upon sidewalks.


I sit here waiting,


eager for sunlightÕs


blinding glare

to burst through darkness,

the grand finale.





This is how it used to be

with him and his lover,

she taught him

a new song

every morning,

a different line

with her head

on the pillow,

climbing the stairway

of his spine

with a weightless melody

until it filled his brain

and he sang

as he rolled over

to lock his lips

around hers

so she might sugar his mouth

with more honey,

her tongue tipping sweet melodies

backwards in his throat.

The day was longing

after mornings like that,

sunlight a lonely companion,

though the song droned

like bees in the hive

all day in his head.





Exhale a powerful breath

into its mouthpiece

and the gentle vibrations

upon its reed

create a timbre

which resonates

through the polished

ebony tube

and under fingers

deftly caressing

dull silver keys,

an audible enchantment

begins to spiral

into an array of colors

and transports body and mind

beyond the boundaries

of daily turmoil

to cure the soul of ills

and deliver a message

from the heart. 




© Michael Keshigian


Michael KeshigianÕs poetry collection, EagleÕs Perch, was recently released by Bellowing Ark Press.  Other published books:  Wildflowers, Jazz Face, Warm Summer Memories, Silent Poems, Seeking Solace, Dwindling Knight, Translucent View. Recently published in Red River Review, IllyaÕs Honey, California Quarterly, Boston Literary Magazine, and Foundling Review.  He is a 3- time Pushcart Prize and 2-time Best Of The Net nominee. His poetry cycle, Lunar Images, set for Clarinet, Piano, Narrator, premiered at Del Mar College in Texas. Subsequent performances occurred in Boston and Moleto, Italy. For more info visit