dave etter | two jazz poems

29 02 2008


The Lighthouse jazz club, Hermosa Beach. Photo: (c) William Claxton

Poetry Dispatch No. 211 | February 28, 2008

Two Jazz Poems by Dave Etter

JAZZ JUNKIE by Dave Etter

How come when I
come to your house
what you got on
is always some Louis Armstrong?
There are other trumpet players
out there, you know.
Where’s your Dizzy,
where’s Clifford Brown?

I’ve met some of the big cats
like Dolphy, Gil Evans,
Dexter, Bird, “Lockjaw” Davis.
Shelly Manne asked me one time
at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach
did I have a light?
I gave him two matchbooks.
He said, “Hey, I’ve seen you here
the last three, four nights.”
And we shook hands, talked about
Chet and Chico Hamilton
and what Max Roach was up to.
When I got back to Chicago
I put his face on my wall
alongside Bud Powell
and “Fat Girl” Navarro.

Look here, brother,
I most never go
anyplace anymore,
don’t even make the club scene,
I’d rather stay in my room
and dig Pharoah Sanders,
Illinois Jacquet,
and Elvin Jones.



Didn’t like the party
didn’t like the people there
tossed down my whiskey
put on my corduroy coat
passed some tacky tycoons
country club bumpkins
double chins double gins
yanked open the thick front door
lit a fresh Cuban cigar
went down white stone steps
went down crooked walk
went spinning round and round
goodbye to Wall Street weirdos
bigoted Republicans
bad hearts sick with greed
glad to be out of there
turning and whirling
dancing dancing like Monk.

crp003_t.jpgfrom I WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOU, Cross+Roads Press, 1995, 35 pp. $6.


some selected Lighthouse recordings…