Friday, October 5, 2012


Dancing like two becomes three (dimensions)                
            Painting that SIN(g)s color                             
*—If anyone thinks 
       that I amn't divine 
                He'll get no free drinks 
                when I'm making the wine 
                but have to drink water 
                and wish it were plain 
                that I make when the wine 
                becomes water again. 

               He tugged swiftly at Stephen's ashplant in farewell and, running               
                forward to a brow of the cliff, fluttered his hands at his sides like 
               fins or wings of one about to rise in the air, and chanted: 

                — Goodbye, now, goodbye!                                         
                      Write down all I said                                         
                      And tell Tom, Dick and Harry                                         
                      I rose from the dead. 

                            What's bred in the bone
                            cannot fail me to fly                                          
                            And Olivet's breezy...                                          
                            Goodbye, now, goodbye! *                  

                  Crazy, crazy great               
                  crazily met and yet wait                      
                  everything hovers like heat                                 
                  shimmers on the hot summer 
                  day (wish I could)
                  threshold of everything....                                                        
                  new, novel, novelty                                                            

                                     Critical genius          
                                     old bumping new 
                                     on against again
                                    Catalogs of good (deemed mediocre)                                           
                                     up against those that never (review well)  
                                         {even now} 

                     ideas from dialogues in cafes
                     in ateliers, in upstairs rooms
                     manifest that which 
                     but might never have been  

                                                     BUT -- bangety bang !
                      Will anything ever BE that NEW again.

                     How long had ideas brewed?   
                     Since the dawn of time...
                     Let's night                                       
                     Let's talk......long distance               
                                                      how, let's use that light thing
                                                      What'll work? 
                      For what...a fair, a carnival, a whore house,             
                                          A CITY ....  OF LIGHTS
                    Exposition.........we need lights...gas, then electric                                                                          

                    Ben Franklin could let go of the kite...
                    Ol' Ben be shocked, ol' Ben be shocked    
                    He'd be knocked, knocked,
 offa his feet
                     knockin' me out!          (Wow!)                                     

                    Edison was figuring things on a farm 
                    in Nova Scotia...................................
                                              "can you hear me now"                   
                    (Leads to something new)

                   Oh there were a million things already in place                   
                   farm machinery, assembly lines, automobiles, 
                   singer sewing
                   sewing  sewingandthey were... sewing, 
                   in Paris sewing,       Coco sewing          sewing fashions, 
                   crazy fashions, skin-tight fashions, sexy fashions,        
                   hair's a bobbing, skirts a risin', knees a knockin 

                                              "can you hear me now!"          
                                               (knockin' on heaven's door)

                   Coco Chanel caught that crazy        
                   Chaplin, Chaplin singing silent 
                    trampin' crazy, trampin' crazy                
                    That crazy crazy was PICTURES
                           moving moving  PICTURES

                    TRAINS a choochooing into your seats...all  a-screaming  
                    Screaming and reading and reading not                              
                    just what happened, and who said what 
                          and got into someone else's                                                     |
                    well, business but into his ohmygoodness 

                    CRAZY thoughts (now that's a NOVEL) 
                    and it was all novel...what! an AMERICAN girl 
                    in a Paris book shop getting Joyce INto print   
                    Black people moving from the States to Paris                                                                                         
                    IT was all happening!       
                                 Clothes, ragtime - meeting dance, 

                                   **Pounded on the table,
                                   Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
                                   Hard as they were able,
                                   Boom, boom, BOOM........the African rhythms
                                                                          the Carribean currents
                                   THEN I had religion, 
                                   THEN I had a vision.I could not turn 
                                    from their revel in derision **                          
                                    freeing  Josephine Baker and Isadora                                        
                                       (Scott Joplin dead but not forgotten)

                                    ...Then along that riverbank
                                       A thousand miles
                                       Tattooed cannibals danced in files;
                                       Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song  **        

                Graceful melodies in tinkling syncopation
                played background to the highest glamour 
                the world will ever know,                          
                to the extreme inventions,                                
                to the wildest thoughts                                        
                to artists with new actions

              fact it felt like everything was NEW, crazy, COOL, and FOU!

                all the rage every sentence crazy fun  fun  fun.....

                crazy fast   fast   fast

                crazy smart   smart   smart
                                          yet (don't forget it couldn't all be good)
                                                 [revolution in the air in Russia]...
                 REVOLUTION...(back in the USSR)
                 Kill the Czar and steal those dazzling Fabergé eggs!                        
                  That's so inventive, so crazy, such a way to find                                
                                                a crazy 
                                 worldwide rocknrollin' high!

    *   (James Joyce. Ulysses  
    ** (Vachel Lindsay, The Congo)
          Exact quotes from both - The Congo rhythms and allusions used as
          example of jazz roots.

                             © Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved


  1. Oh, brilliant! All that crazy, wild, exciting, innovative jazz feel comes across strong here...I enjoyed the roller-coaster read.

  2. oh gay, i love is gorgeous....the word play alone makes me grin ear to of my fav parts is...

    old bumping new on against and again wen|new
    Catalogs of good (deemed mediocre) bumped
    up against never {and even still doesn't) exist and would
    bangety bang BE ever be that NEW again.///ha, so cool and def a thought burner...its got a nice blend of craziness in it as well....would love to hear it performed...

  3. My goodness, this poem took me on a journey. Something new around each twist and turn of the words... loved all of the 'characters' you worked into this poem, and the word play was delicious!

  4. Dear Gay,

    I like the flow of the piece much but have a few questions - a lot of the opening seemed to me to be from Ulysses - several stanzas, but I couldn't tell then when you put the note how much of it was actually taken or imitated - the water to wine and back, etc. and of course the Stephen parts.

    A lot of wonderful word play and great flow. The only "drafty" part is that you might want to think of shortening a little - if it were performed as Brian suggests I don't think you'd need to really --and I'm not sure you do even for reading!--but I think that it's harder to keep the reader's energy on page as opposed to performance. It is extremely performable, and great for reading too, even as is. But since you spoke of draft, that would be my only thought. A lot of fun. k.

  5. whew, quite the ride. Yes, the stream of consciousness creativity of a jazz jam session comes through, popping around as each performer adds their bit and it all seems to flow together.

  6. Rollicking fun! Enjoyed every line of it. Ingenious and just 0on the crazy side of sane - which is just as I like it.

  7. wow gay...i'm just in awe...what a wonderful, crazy, deep and vital modern, so grounded, so much music in it...a lot

  8. You said it yourself: Crazy fun.
    Great energy

  9. Gay, I had a religious experience reading it :)! I'm in awe and aesthetic bliss, spun wildly about and happy for the first time in a long time (completely irrelevant but true). It is the energy, the drive, the wild, the admixture of old and new, the parsing and the holding up, the devolution, evolution, and revolution smashed up. Fission and fusion, ART! You are the only person who can decide when the draft is no longer (though the idea of polish is sometimes one to throw out to) but imho it is exquisite, gorgeous, and alive.

  10. oh my! this is an entire World of Poetry. brilliant and true to the task. I enjoyed this immensely!

  11. This is really something, Gay! Had to go through a few times to get the gist of it. Lots of efforts went into this apparently! Brilliant!


  12. Sorry to be so late, just life's burdens. Clever stuff. I experienced it as an impro for two voices riffing around a theme

  13. you definitely captured all that jazz, Gay!!! i love visual poetry and you laid yours out on a hot fast track that really carried me along as it gathered speed!

    "snap! snap! snap!" {my finger-snap applause for such a cool chick!}

  14. I came back for another read. This is so good and so layered I shall need a few more readings, I think to really appreciate it. The idea of mining Ulysses was inspired. It is such a rich resource and yet I doubt I would ever have thought of it. It works well throughout and - yes - it does resonate like jazz. A beautiful read that could keep me going for some time to come!

  15. Jazz replete, this piece is a dark, smokey room with a a low bass thumping. All senses are required to make it clear. I read it aloud.Not easy, but easy listening. Smart, clever, skilled write.

  16. This enticed me from the word go...or "Dancing" lol
    Exceptional piece! xox