A jazz pianist, poet or writer

In his day-dreams, my father saw himself as a jazz pianist, poet or, possibly a writer. Life didn’t turn out quite like that… but I appreciate my many memories of his piano paying, and his quite extensive jazz LP collection.

This my dad playing Jazz on an electric piano.

This my dad playing Jazz on an electric piano.


After church my father played,

melancholic melodies piano-made,

audience-empty suburban sitting room,

far from drink, dance and smoky fume

of  New Orleans honky-tonk bars:

hear V8 growl, see tail-finned cars.


Father rarely jammed with others,

lone-jived, no band of brothers;

tunes started off well, then stumbled:

over-complicated codas got jumbled,

lacking drum discipline, tight snare beat,

absent funky double-bass, incomplete.


A jazz pianist, poet or writer, in dreams:

boundaries smashed to smithereens;

unwanted the title, company director;

internal emigre, alter-ego defector

from consensus and conservative claims;

finally he fled family, set bridges aflame.


Now aged ninety, we’re reconciled,

sharp tongue recalled from when a child

– now lip bitten, sometimes silently grin

at fallible father – conflicted kith and kin;

upbeat dixieland tunes still fondly recalled

old stylus sometimes sticks, scratch stalled…


Piano blues track (with washboard percussion) recorded by my dad, circa 1944


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