Black Poetry : listening to ella

Discussion in 'Black Poetry - Get Your Flow On!' started by romusthepoet, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. romusthepoet

    romusthepoet Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Nov 21, 2001
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    listening to ella
    by romus simpson

    ella’s record spins opium throughout the morning oriental street
    i am shirtless & hours from formal speech
    women are rising in the secrets of the wet dawn
    some touched & some untouched
    naked as palms leaning into day & fretting
    battalions of weary street lights
    all above the empty streets like disciplined tall negros
    jazz sifting in my beard my eyes closed
    the stillness of each early room
    the volume of blooming light shading the last constellations
    across the universe floor
    like glass filling with bright water & a stream of first language less day
    a gluttonous eye in first sight of yosemite limping through beauty
    an eager heart at the mouth of ella
    astronaut swimming space against the sun
    or the industrial tractor way morning drives night across the country

    the last planes from fiji are the first planes here
    as they were from new delhi & the curry dust of the sri lanka
    the end of an album then that morning aria of traffic rising
    the empty record & ella lightly asleep in my ear
    it has been an even silver stirring all night
    an ethereal town of cautious sleep
    a caravan of starling escaping then returning mute to my memory
    i thumb slow bass on my naked chest
    no shadows have left
    & none will come

    laugh ella
    if you can
    in the strange evening traffic
    clear weary alto night
    breath of dawn lowering the world
    into a bass clef of shadows & smoke
    left hand of god finding a chord
    then letting love ride into silence
    i let my hands open and hide my feet in the shadows
    the beautiful wood of the world shined to luminous silver
    while ella sings in the dark room
    she is waiting for the man she loves
    her eyes are crescent moons made pearl by jazz
    blues tint the world like old film running
    document the hungry era in soundless recollection
    we sit alone in the tuesday night gallery of blue stars
    remembering sharing cigarettes, montrose, frigid toronto
    late night new york where time warped the senses
    barcelona, the frenzy of young men & bronze columns & lights
    where i brought a scar in anger and was without translation in the moonlight

    the people gather hoping a glimpse of ella’s beautiful sadness
    those without names or tickets
    lingering along the hotel streets with posters
    all their indigenous memories of her are blue night sky
    sign your name ella across your drifing paper eye
    they rise against the dark magnolia roof like a regiment of roses & ball gowns
    wars & love & soldiers returning in strange silence floating
    eastern oceans & currents of caskets
    screaming people at the bus windows protesting vietnam
    eyeless pictures of their dead sons shoved against the world
    where have all those young men gone
    gone to graveyards everyone
    & ella remained clear as hurt
    war is gone
    ella told me she too would die someday
    that the requisite faceless stranger would break her heart
    & she would die
    & ella is gone now too

    i am discovering her song by song
    making my own blue quilt of drifting memory
    charting each blown autumn leaf in this mauve country
    facing my own lost loves accusations & empty rooms
    & tarrying there in coastal drive of that echoing spectrum
    ella is renaming me
    calling me romus like a phone call from conneticut
    like an ocean speeding wind out there east
    colors my eyes a maroon monsoon
    places a hungry night in each eager kissing pore

    discovering her weight her loneliness
    i move from window to window like the banter of strangers
    facet the world by playing light through my eyelashes
    remember the streets & the disowned musicians & poets
    drip sun tears where the first day licks my eyes
    the avenue hardly changes in the exchange of shimmering & dark hues
    rising fire on the cathedral vines flood day up the buttresses
    night going like a negro juggernaut all at once into space
    the crystal pan of the world resonating fantastic orange holocaust
    each soprano star late & being gathered & swallowed by god

    ella’s repertoire is vast
    a nation of lonely faces watching the sky
    crows & hydrants & all things anchor the day & listen faithfully
    coastlines & miles of easy rolling breath lap into the morning
    her voice like a sat 7 am
    alluvial as dawn lit from a lone cigarette
    no man come to love her
    wrap her up & kiss the places where her glasses cut her cheeks
    unearth her body & lick the blues beneath her breasts
    create an orchestrated secret in the clef of her hips
    she is ripe & pressed full cinnamon against the window
    take ella now take ella now
    this woman whose terminal spring is now
    but no man come down the street this morning
    & no man leaving to obligations & the forming crowds
    having stayed too long in the ellington refrain of her kiss

    blues into blues
    silence after linear silence
    sundays pull the weeks like water through city streets
    mauve windows & flowers in the open cathedral at the port of each day
    a tall man parallel parking a cadillac on the intermittent early avenue
    another man half consumed by the slow explosions of dusk
    wanders into the liquor store almost dancing
    from the steeple of the waning high night ink recedes to
    the sequenced jazz loitering in the eves
    god shakes the world to a opaque blend
    serves a sky of dark gold over clouds
    i am listening to ella
  2. alyce

    alyce Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Jan 29, 2001
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    This is magnificent! Ella was an incredibly gifted Queen of jazz, and Mistess of scat!!

    thank you,