Dan's Drivel

Dan… a guy who likes to write | Drivel… nonsense | Dan’s Drivel… what readers will come across while perusing this site… enjoy –


A Love Supreme
“What’s he even mean by that,” my son asked the other day.
Whose love? What love? And for whom?
I didn’t have an answer, so started thinking, looking around.
I thought maybe God, but a non-believer,
preferred something mortal, something I had actually felt and seen,
which led me to my mom and dad.
– . –

me, Jan Garbarek, and you
snow fell
like notes from
Jan Garbarek’s saxophone
as we stood in Raekoja Plats
drinking mulled wine and marveling
at the size of the Christmas tree.
It was crowded and festive; sure,
there was a holiday feel
but not the kind that moves me
the buskers, revelers, piped-in music;
it was all too cheerful, didn’t make me merry
I just wanted to get back home –
to a blanket. to the fire. with you.
and listen to the silent spaces
created by his saxophone.
– . –

Tigran Hamasayan,
live in Luxembourg, 2013
Shit was flying everywhere
like sparks from welders’ tools.
They were putting something
together up there on stage –
drums and bass. guitar.
a solo siren’s voice. piano, too.
Grandpa banging grandma in the tool shed
couldn’t have made weirder, wilder, more wonderful sounds.
– . –

Miles & Me
slash here
semicolon there
dash and a
comma down to
lead me back
to quotes
and now I’m on my way
with a question mark
the dangling of
a phrase prepositionalized
by the unscathed glamour
of italics
underlined in bold
and a made-up
that won’t show up
leaving me
hyphenated and compounded
by the end of this
Miles Davis
that fragments, then unfolds
into a
run-on sentence,
incorrect grammar.
– . –
“Uh-huh, Oh Yeah”
She said she liked
jazz and jump and
jive and swing and
as if to add more emphasis
she even included
the blues
Oh yeah,
I said
as I raised one eyebrow,
That’s real cool
– . –

Bill Evans and three Petite Blondes
Bill Evans came to town last night
– saxophone, piano, clarinet, even sang, too.
He was surrounded by three petite blondes,
And, man, were they tight.
Now don’t let your mind wander (or be offended)
It’s not what you think.
Those three blondes
were not women, were not blond
Nevertheless, they were tight.
Bill and his boys took us
through a two hour set –
funk, fusion, a bit of Blues;
at one point during the show
Mywife leaned toward me, whispered,
“Pretty groovy”
“Pretty tight,” was my reply.
From what followed,
I don’t think she took it the wrong way.
– . –
Ballad Of That Thing Called Time
The lullaby of a broom
swishes leaves down sidewalks
like a patient mother scurrying
sleepy children to bed
they flutter in their own way
yet fly in one direction
brings to mind the gentle nudge of time
In my rocking chair,
I, too, drift in my own way,
to and fro to the sound of a second hand
from a clock on the wall
that no longer keeps correct time
the faint brushstroke
of some forgotten jazz drummer
sets a different type of time,
sweeping and hooking full circles ’round the head of a drum
s-s-h-h-h his music seems to say
the children are now sleeping
the chair no longer sways,
the clock has stopped its ticking
time for broom and brush to be put away.
– . –
April 2020
From my street-level flat, I look out the open window and watch the silence.
It is early spring and the oak trees that line the avenue
Have started sprouting leaves like Argus having started to open all his eyes.
Funny how time marches on despite the world being so still.
As a soft breeze touches my face, I wonder about where I am, where we are, at this time.
The rush of life has subsided yet still we feel unsettled
More time, less bustle; isn’t this what so many have been seeking?
Another time, perhaps; different circumstances, for sure.
A passerby on the footpath far beyond arms’ reach sneezes and I am startled,
make quickly to the sink, where I wash my hands and start to think, look into the mirror
wonder, How could something that was once so human now set off such an alarm?
– . –
Pigeon Blues
I catch a glimpse of Mardi Gras
on the neck of a pigeon strutting past
and think of you.
Like you, the bird is
oblivious to me, also like you, probably.doesn’t
even know what the colors mean.
What has happened to New Orleans, I ask myself
every time I return. Truth is, it hasn’t been that often,
maybe not often enough. I still wonder. Just like I wonder…
I’m on the wrong side of 50, whatever.that means.
I don’t complain. I now see the horizon for what it really is.
How did I get here? Where am I going?
Jazz, joy. Blues, sad. It’s in the colors, I suppose.
The singers I used to see on stage are no longer here; one by one
they have moved on to their own big easy.
Some friends, as well. But the memories, like photos, are timeless.
I hum a tune from one of them, for all of them. Look out at the lake. Wonder;
Like New Orleans, I am sinking. I think of
Louis Armstrong and Congo Square, my mind still traveling
as I cross Sedgwick, sort of near where you used to live.
Meanwhile, a pigeon alights on a statue in Lincoln Park. Maybe it’s the same one.
I ask myself, how do they fly so far, walk so much?.I stop, look up,
step inside St. Michael’s. Kneeling. Thinking of you; I pray.
– . –
She dug jazz,
he leaned classical,
yet when they started to play,
they quickly found a groove.
Piano keys and brass, a standing bass and bow,
they played on through the night.
It was all improv as they headed toward intermission
Once back in session, they found their groove again
in adagio and double time — block chords and allegros,
no matter the rhythm, they hit all the right notes.
Fusion was how they described the sounds they made that night.
Fusion kept them together, the name they bestowed upon their child.
– . –
While. Walking. in. Tel. Aviv . .
It was. while. walking. in . Tel .Aviv.
along Rothschild Boulevard, looking
at all the Bauhaus buildings
I thought about jazz
It struck me that what I liked about the buildings
is what I like about jazz.
My son asked,
“What do you like about these buildings?” “Why do you like jazz?”
“I don’t get it,” he and others say about both, and sometimes so do I.
But I like Bauhaus buildings. I like jazz. We don’t always have to
“get it”. We don’t always have to have a reason why.
– . –
It’s Free Improv These Days
I no longer call to talk to my dad –
His hearing is shot
His memory is full of holes
And his ability to follow a line of thought
Is increasingly decreasing
No, these days I call to hear his voice
Just listen to
its emotion and the sound for its own sake
Sometimes I prompt him
With something to let him know I’m there
Fully aware
That someday (ever sooner)
the music of his voice will stop.
.– . –
At the Back Room (I tell you, it wasn’t the booze)
It had been awhile
And so I brought my wife,
Her first time in the US
Her first time at a jazz club in Chicago
And there we were right up close,
And I don’t know who was playing
Or what they were playing
But, man, they were good,
And they got it going on and all of a sudden
I mean all of a sudden, the drummer lost his kit,
I’m not kiddin’ ya man, the drummer lost his kit,
Boom, right off the stage, I kid you not,
It fell off the small stage and into the audience
But the song wasn’t done and he wasn’t done
So he kept on playing with whatever he could tap on
Floor, knee, imaginary air kit, whatever,
Whatever could or might make some sound
Nobody blinked an eye till the end
When the silence snapped us out of it and then applause
I guess you could say we were all
Hypnotized. Mesmerized. Wide eyed and awed
We all sure did enjoy that ride.
.– . –
An odd number
We stood and listened to
a busker playing jazz
on a cobblestone street
just inside the Old Town walls
It was late; the street was empty
Snow fell on the flowers
I had given you for Valentine’s —
It was an odd number as was the norm
in this part of the world
where even numbers were for somber occasions
You leaned into me and said something
about how the saxophone made you feel;
I smiled and gestured that we should go
And just before we started, I reached out toward you,
intending to leave him a rose, then thought –
best not test fate. I left him some coins instead.
– . –