this mirror recalls how once you shaved

jazz music was the audio lodestone of my childhood home, in particular while my father was having his morning shave. i try to capture the feel for that fondly recalled music in this poem.

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this mirror recalls how once you shaved,
i imitate with old brush and blade,
my thoughts sometimes woven through
with your jiving jazz band piano blues.

exuberant trumpets, joy-blown, sassily,
brushed drums syncopated lazily, classily,
big upright bass plucked in laid-back time,
melodies embroidered by scat and rhymes.

your private piano-blues, recorded on wax,
pin-punctured paper-cone replayed scratch
and hiss, your sons experimenting with 78s;
imitation negro-holler, hobo-unridden freight.

your be-bop dreams never quite fulfilled,
name not printed on Newport Festival bills,
you never entered the Swingalong charts
but you’re number one in this son’s heart.

_____________________________________

The Newport Jazz Festival is an important music festival, held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island.
Swingalong – a daily afternoon jazz and swing show on BBC Light service in the 1960’s
______________________________________

backstory: my dad privately recorded his own 78 blues tune on piano, accompanied by his friend on wash-board rhythm. it was a wax recording on a base of a brass disc.
my middle brother, the great experimenter, decided that we would listen to it in a novel way. we put it on the turn table, and spun it by hand. we then placed a pin stuck through a paper cone on to the spinning disc. it worked!
_______________________________________

photo: Dora Kazmierak  https://www.instagram.com/dorakazmierak/

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