June Jazz: ‘Sweet Jazz O’ Mine’


Jazz-great Art Blakey #once said, “Music washes away the dust of every day life.” With a pair of drumsticks, he did just that, uncovering a new style of bebop drumming. He gave music a new shine.

Poetry scrubs us down with a back-and-forth hygiene, too. Its shifting rhythms and often abrasive refrains rub across #our dry skin like a pumice stone. But it takes some #obsession.

Movement. And repetition.

We wait for a jagged key to fit, for the molten brass to fill in the black holes. We listen for that sweet spot. “The most important thing I look for in a musician, said Duke Ellington, “is whether he knows how to listen.” Poets, can we tip a black fedora hat to that? It’s good wisdom.

Ellington became a legend partly because he understood the secret to a good shine: an artist keeps playing, until he hears that “Sweet Jazz O’ Mine”.

Let’s Play June Jazz!

All month long we’re swinging with poetry at Tweetspeak. We call it June Jazz. We write found poems and share them on Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs, though we always link back to here. Last week we wrote to the tune of “Three Trees”, a poem by Rachel Contreni Flynn.

Not only did Maureen Doallas hit the notes, she also hit most of Flynn’s words.

Already it’s October
and cold, the house sick

with our outraged hoping,
and silent in a clot of snow.

We’re all maneuvering
the sadness of brief summer

passion, the wrong thing
we made of ourselves;

the baby, the goodness after.
We, all of us, falter

and yet, of the earth,
pull through. Years vanish

in the slow grim gray of time.

Donna also heard the rhythm of pulling through. She wrote,

She pulled through
Like a small boat
Refusing to lose
Refusing to capsize
Refusing to be small at all

She pulled through
Like a small boat
As the big boats thrashed
Against the waves
Leaving this world
All twisted and sinking,
Wishing for
A heart like that

She pulled through
Like a small boat

Rosanne Osborne heard something else out in the snow.

When Wars Begin

Outraged in the snow
at the sheer audacity
of the attack,
his anger burned
through his mittens.
The snow ball
in his hand
to an icy

that created
turned to hands
of aggression.

Kicking snow,
a restless yearling,
he hurled his charge
at Mason’s innocent cat,
tears of frustration freezing
on cheeks softened by the touch
of compassion and constancy of care.

Here’s how June Jazz works …

If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to Every Day Poems.


1. On Mondays, the Every Day Poem in your inbox becomes a chord progression. Find your own tone. Build an idea around a single poem line. Just let yourself go and write a found poem, baby.

2. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #junejazz hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.

3. Or leave your found poem here in the comment box.


We’ll read your tweets and share some of your weekly play each week. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a winning poem and ask the playful poet to record his or her poem to be featured in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.

Here’s today’s Every Day Poem. Now go jazz it up.

Want a little inspiration? Why not let Duke help you out …

Photo by Peter StraAina. Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post by Matthew Kreider.


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In May we’re exploring the theme Trees.

Red #9


  1. L. L. Barkat says


    is my soul’s pleasure
    just like that.

    You and your jazz
    is (are)
    my soul’s pleasure.


    O how you pleasure
    my soul.

  2. says

    Solitude Is Swell

    Converse not,
    and I may gladly
    let thee be
    my sweet pleasure.

    Mind thy thoughts
    of bliss; my spirits dwell
    in jumbled words
    and scenes with me.

    O solitude, to thee
    I flee.

  3. Connie Cornwell Chipman says

    Walk With Me

    What Can I do for thee
    who dwells in solitude,
    how can I give comfort
    to you? Let it not be
    among the murky shadows
    that hug.

    Walk with me
    through mingled light
    and scented shade,
    that makes passer’s by inhale
    at the splendor in the air,
    and fountains palpitating
    in summers shine.

    By each other’s side– lovelier made
    Will our presence be.

  4. Connie Cornwell Chipman says


    It’s gonna be a good show
    let it not be
    among the jumbled heap.

    Give me daddy-O
    until that happy morning.

  5. says


    When a dog startles the wild bee
    from the foxglove bell, it’ll be
    the devil to play. That dog
    will think twice before he goes
    sniffing around blossoms
    where danger lurks. Deceptive,
    those finger-like blooms carry
    no hope of caress, no promise
    of a scratch around the ears.
    He’ll learn. Not every fox wearing
    mittens is ready to romp or play.
    Some are tossing their gauntlets,
    a challenge that pits character
    and faith against consummate odds.

  6. says


    Nothing is sweet in the converse
    of an innocent mind. The sugared
    coating of time has been bleached
    from the denim thighs of the young.

    World weary, they have seen
    the underside of the cockroach,
    the lifted tail of the scorpion’s sting,
    and they know more than they

    understand of a chaotic world
    where gowns and mortar boards
    only pretend adequate preparation.
    Their innocence soured before

    they left the public playground.
    College was merely a rehearsal
    of the mawkish stench of warm
    beer and cribbed education.

    They go now, the finest minds
    of this age, haltered by egos
    that shield reality, their success
    dependent on what they can reject.

  7. Grace Marcella Brodhurst-Davis says


    To him, it seemed he had to stumble from
    The shy observatory he stood upon
    To seek that secret soul’s pleasure
    To be everyone’s idolized treasure

    He opted for the liquid measure
    Tasted highest bliss in his endeavor
    Down murky halls he slithered anew
    After drinking the witch’s bold brew

    Atop the smoky, jumbled heap he drew
    Crowds of kindred spirits to woo
    ‘Mongst age-old musical souls he crooned
    The musky notes of a jazzy blues tune

  8. says

    someone turn me off, baby
    leave me where it’s still
    fill the place with quiet, baby
    go against your will
    and let me be
    just let me be

    someone turn me off, baby
    take these blues away
    i’d rather have a coma
    than this heartbreak everyday
    let me be
    just let me be

    until my tears run dry, baby
    and my heart is free,
    please turn me off for just a little while
    and let me be
    oh let me be

    inspiration poem: “to be an inanimate object, by ruth mowry

  9. says


    the jumbled heap
    of murky buildings
    reaches up
    and grabs us
    from the air.

    Our plane blends
    with life below
    and we become
    what they are.

    Plans crystalized
    in the air melt
    into the stasis
    of landlocked life.

    Airy illusion
    is wrenched
    from our psyches
    and we become
    bricks and mortar.

  10. says

    Grace…. love your piece… this line grabs me!

    “‘Mongst age-old musical souls he crooned
    The musky notes of a jazzy blues tune”

  11. says

    O Solitude

    Solitude is the operation
    of the soul in search of itself.
    It’s in the dead center
    of soundlessness
    that vitality’s insistent
    reminder can be heard.
    The crunch of ant feet
    descending into dust,
    their mission mandated
    by singular intelligence,
    beating a rhythm
    that the soul knows.

  12. Tracy Seffers says

    Here’s my O and tree poem in one–hope it’s not too late.

    The Root Defiant
    (for Katy)
    The gardener toils and, splicing strength to strength,
    engrafts the sturdy root of apple tree
    to graceful weeping crab. The grafted tree
    is planted; grows as planned; but in its shade
    another grows: a girl, apple-blossomed hair
    and feet bird-swift; laughter brimming, spilling . . .
    until the years of darkness slow their flight,
    dam up the stream and dim her radiant hair.
    O Tree-girl. O Girl-tree. In the silence
    of your roots is held the truth of who you are.
    Go there. Listen. Embrace and be embraced.
    No time remains for this trailing habit:
    See the long-diminished root express its branching hunger for the light,
    Declare in greenest strength, I will no longer weep, but stand.

  13. says

    Solitude with an Age Bias

    Keats and Twain were tailored
    from different cloth,
    but on solitude, they agreed.
    Twain named it contemptuous
    when his neighbors
    turned against him,
    their hardness cutting
    him to the quick, that soft
    flesh below the growing nail.

    It would be his hands that suffered,
    his writing intricately interwoven
    with his sense of self, a singular fabric.
    His was the solitude of age, life
    betraying life, scissors cutting
    errant patterns for ill-fitting
    garments. For the youthful Keats,
    solitude was the vestment
    worn by a suitor kindred seeking.

  14. says

    Connection Is Where You Find It

    The only possible connection
    between my father and John Keats
    rests on their joint recognition
    of the deer’s shift leap. For Keats,
    that deer is little more than a conceit
    to complete a sonnet’s line,
    but for my father, that deer’s leap
    figured the elusive target
    in a hunter’s late initiation.
    Not born to hunt, he moved
    us to a rural Missouri community
    in the forties where the currency
    of male social exchange spun
    on the eye’s dime sighted down
    a rifle barrel. Each year, the men
    waited for the three-day season
    to fill their waiting freezers
    with meat for the winter. Each year,
    my father’s errant shots did little more
    than accelerate the leap of wily bucks,
    the cunning of six-point patriarchs.
    For him, the doe’s sudden bolt
    across the car’s light at night
    became the stuff of sacred magic.


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