Our Tractor Man

Our tractor man is doing

What he really likes to do:

Clearing snow.

He suits my mental man-with-plow.

Trading pig and cow

For gear he likes to sit inside;

The tractor hut;

Tranquil woods to clear and saw,

Chop and cut;

Tractor wheel, forest smell,

Alone deciding what to fell.

Muddy potholes in the spring,

Flood and crud his tractor´s thing.

Nicely chubby,

Slightly tubby;

Sixty odd,

His tractor and the woods his God.

 

I esteem this earthy man

Dharma bound to seasoned stars

That fix the farmer life and plan

Unchangeable and stable.

Our Tractor Man passed away 2016.


Our Tractor Man 3.4.2003 (revised 11.19.2016)

Circling Round Nature; Circling Round Time; Special People, Special Occasions; Birth. Death & In Between II;

Arlene Corwin

 

 

                                                     

 

You Can’t Look Pretty And Concentrate 2013

You Can’t Look Pretty And Concentrate

(on seeing a film of Keith Jarrett’s Tokyo concert 1996)

 

It’s either/or:

You can’t look pretty and concentrate.

It is a kind of war between

The ego and the thing,

The thing, the more important.

It’s nice if you relax,

A glass in hand, donned new pressed slacks;

To smile and see them smile too,

Eye contacting, all the while

Performing so the thing will gel,

Aiming at a phrase well done.

But skill and fun don’t fuse,

The thing demanding less than booze;

The thing demanding ears and eyes,

Pinpointed agonizings that arise

From neither glam- nor clamor.

 

Calm inward

From chord to keyboard,

There’s a sword that cuts through

The cosmetics and the art.

You can’t look smarty pants-y smart

When working at the heart of art;

Your heart.  It’s not a role

But art, combining beauty, subtle flexibility,

Intellect that doesn’t show

But steers, keeping in tow

The years it’s taken. Pretty is as pretty sees.

The job is: search and strip sans tease.

The viewer only ever sees what he is able to.

The thing has got to be continually fresh

Since flesh is weak and soon antique

But music’s thing will always speak

To souls of concentration.*

 

You Can’t Look Pretty & Concentrate .5.27.2003

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative; Vaguely About Music; Definitely Didactic;

Arlene Corwin

*on seeing a film of Keith Jarrett’s Tokyo concert 1996

 

 

 

 

Open-Ended Autobiography

 

Arlene Corwin’s Poetry

Just another WordPress.com weblog

——————————————————————————–

Arlene Corwin’s Open-Ended Biography

(10.3.2007 updated 10.24.2007 updated 1.3.2008; updated December 15, 2009, October 2010 )

Arlene Corwin (born Arlene Faith Nover) is an American jazz singer and pianist, poet, teacher and practitioner of Yoga. Born November 8, 1934 in the Williamsburg Maternity Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. She has two children. Jonathan Eric Corwin (born July 24. 1956 and) Jennifer Nover Council (born February 2, 1964). Mother Margy Lillian (born Brown). Father Albert S. Nover. Both were hairdressers, owning a beauty salon together. Everyone was musical on both sides of the family.Mother sang, could play some piano. Father was a gifted sculptor and wood carver, played a little harmonica and mandolin. The family is Jewish.

Early Life
Started studying piano age 8. Studied voice at the famous 1650 Broadway with ‘coach’ Matty Levine. Did a little recording at aged 10 in Nola Studios. (The record has since disappeared) At 12 she started studying harp with Meyer Rosen (Julliard and NBC Orchestra) and the occasional piano lesson with an NBC pianist who taught her how to read chord changes, seeing at once that she was not interested in learning classical piano.

As a child she had already sung at weddings, bar mitzvahs and for the USO, raising bonds for the war effort. At 13, having a boyfriend who played the saxophone and who listened to Symphony Sid, jazz disc jockey whose late night show originated from Birdland, she awakened to jazz, listening to the late night show “under my blanket”. “A turning point”, she says. (Well before “Lullaby of Birdland” was put to words Arlene had written a lyric of her own – a lyric she still sings today) At 14,she was playing for a dancing school once a week. Then she got an accidental job (“slipping in on a banana peel when the singer got sick”) in a Brooklyn nightclub singing with a group. “Mom and dad chaperoned, of course”.1950s 

She began to sing regularly when again, out of the blue, an agent rang offering a job for a hundred dollars a week to play at the Mayflower Hotel in Manhattan. It was a restaurant owned by Bob Olin, a former light heavyweight world champion. “I was so naïve I played the whole evening without ever taking a break. Who knew about breaks? Why they kept me I’ve no idea.” But they did and the steady salary of $100.00 a week (which she gave directly to her mother, any other choice never occurring to her) and the experience of having to make a varied program led to her singing to the piano, and eventually to playing to the singing. At this time she was still in high school as attending the prestigious High School of Music & Art as a harpist.She graduated from Music & Art getting a scholarship to Hofstra College as a music major.

Then in 1952, while still at Hofstra College (now university), she was playing on the weekends in a Hempstead, Long Island nightclub-restaurant when Slim Gaillard, who’d come to see Jack Teagarden (also working there) began to take notice of her. He started showing up regularly. There he met Arlene’s mother Margy, and the two eventually opened a jazz nightclub, the first to cater to blacks and whites. It was called The Turf and it, like Birdland had its own radio show, for which Arlene wrote the theme song “The Slim Gaillard Show”. Now she was standing as well as sitting, getting a chance to sit in and sing as often as she chose. The die was cast. It was jazz, cool jazz.

Early Influences
In 1954, on the day she ought to have been attending her college graduation, she married Bob Corwin, a 21-year-old jazz pianist with the Don Elliot Quartet. Because Bob toured, Arlene began her new stage of education: listening to Don’s group while they played on the same bill as the jazz greats of the 50’s. There was Helen Merrill at George Wein’s Storyville in Boston, Terry Gibbs and Illinois Jacquet in Detroit, Bill Evans, Cy Coleman, Bernard Peiffer, Tal Farlowe,Johnny Smith John Mehagan and Billy Taylor (who had also performed at the Turf) at the sophisticated Composer owned by jazz lover and connoiseur Willie Short in Manhattan. ” It was also a chance to see and listen to other singers of the day. New York was marvelous in those days. I saw Peggy Lee at Basin Street, became friends with Blossom Dearie at Trudy’s in the village, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland at the Hickory House, Sheila Jordan, Morgana King. It was THE university for me. I was introduced to and mentored by Tony Fruscella, the tragic, unsung genius of the trumpet, ‘who I took on my gigs, but to whom I was actually the apprentice’ – and through Tony to Morgana King and Beverly Getz, the talented [and equally tragic] wife of Stan Getz. I feel blessed to have experienced jazz at that time. The guys would gossip about who played ‘behind’ or ‘ahead’ of the beat, bass lines, good changes, bad changes. No Music & Art or Hofstra did that. I learned almost the whole of what is now called The American Songbook. And I, I was sounding like Sarah Vaughn with a little voice.”

 

Hanging Around Manhattan; Not This, Not That…
Living in New York, and looking for a niche she spent time, as other musicians did, at the Musicians Union Local 802 or Charlie’s Tavern where jobs could show up. In this way, there were weeks and weekends away with big bands: Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra under the leadership of Warren Covington, Claude Thornhill and Larry Sonn.

“When you hang around New York all kinds of opportunities show up”. And so, she got a leading role in a B film called “Jukebox Racket’, wrote the score for another B film called, at the time “She Should Have Stayed In Bed”, later to be called ‘1,000 Shapes Of A Female: see IDMB (the company, called Exploit Films was owned by Errol Flynn “tall, big in every way, veins on his face, but exuding old world charm” He was quite, quite overwhelming.”

Then there was a bit part in John Cassavetes “Shadows”, followed by the lead in what has become a cult ‘beat’ musical called “The Nervous Set” by Fran and Jay Landesman where she introduced the now-standards “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most and “Ballad Of The Sad Young Men”, both subsequently recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey and numberless major artists. She studied acting with Joshua Shelley. “It was a time to find out who and what I was. “I was definitely not an actress. I was too introverted and none of those clothes fit” she says.

More Influences and more Not This, Not That…
In 1959 she met Johnny Burke (Burke & Van Heusen) who took her under his wing, taking her to Hollywood to demonstrate his show “Donnybrook” for Rosalind Russell and husband, producer Frederick Brisson “It was a glitzy time. I stayed at Bob Hope’s house in Palm Springs, met Frank Sinatra and his then fiancee Juliet Prowse, Jerry Lewis, Marlene Deitrich, had my own suite in Las Vegas , traveled first class, but was so introverted I always kept to myself, never saying much, definitely not participating in any of these scenes. Those clothes didn’t fit either.”

All the while she returned to the intimacy of New York supper clubs. They were the bottom line, singing and playing.

It was during the supper club period, she met Al Weissman who became her manager. She was signed to the Joe Glazer Agency and began to tour with her own trio. “Wherever I went they’d say, “You know, there’s just been a girl here who sounds like you. Her name was Barbra something. I suppose we had Brooklyn Jewishness in common. ” (She too was signed with Glazer.)

Although published by Frank Publishing (owned by composer Frank Loesser) years later she asked for the songs back because “nothing happened.” “It was a period of promise, a period I was not equipped to fulfill”.

1960s-1970s
In 1962 it was back to Hollywood with Al Weissman and high hopes. “I had some jobs, but never in my genre.” Back to New York. A little jaunt of songwriting with singer Dick Haymes. A short marriage of four months to Richard Robin Palmer.

Greece, Lebanon, Greece, Oxford – Yoga & Jazz

In 1966, by way of Paris, Greece (where she and husband Jim Council were neighbors with Leonard Cohen and Marianne) and Lebanon, “where I actually managed to do some television, singing jazz”, she settled in Oxford, England for the next 18 years, teaching yoga,(“lectured and demonstrated in what must have been a hundred Women’s Insitutes, posed for one of the very first health magazines called Health & Fitness, wrote articles on nutrition, had a weekly radio spot on a little radio show for BBB Oxford actually doing Yoga on radio while describing each pose with a microphone up my nose, did a tape on meditation – it was a lot of Yoga”) and singing and playing, being voted Best Jazz Singer in the Midlands 1972, appearing at Ronnie Scott’s three times. She did 3 television shows; a late night BBC jazz show called “In The Cool Of The Evening”, radio for BBC overseas, was invited over to Amsterdam to do Dutch radio, sang at universities around England, (“one night opposite Pink Floyd, “who were just starting out, I suppose”), the American air bases.

She appeared several times at The Stables in Wavendon (run by John Dankworth – now Sir John Dankworth – and Cleo Laine -now Dame Cleo Laine – while at the same time giving weekly yoga lessons to a group there, (which included Dame Cleo – “a wonderful yogin”). The Wavendon All-Music Plan, later known simply as WAP “was the most stimulating and original enterprise I’ve ever encountered, pairing all kinds of musical genre. I even played on the same bill as Vladimir Ashkenazy.”

Starting in 1969 and all during the 70’s fate gave a push to the yoga side of things and Arlene was teaching yoga classes in doctor’s offices for hyper-tense, cardiac and overweight men. teaching regularly at conferences for IBM. She gave demonstrations, lectured all over for the Women’s Institute, posed and wrote for Health and Fitness Magazine (summer issue 1982) a book called The New Manual Of Yoga by Karen Ross (1973) wrote articles on nutrition, made a cassette called This Is Meditation. It was a full double life with Yoga taking half the time and singing the other half.

1980s to now.
In 1983 she once again ran into Slim Gaillard – this time in London. He asked her to appear on a television show he was producing that was to star himself, Kai Winding and Wayne Shorter. It was the last appearance she ever made in England.In 1984, finding Sweden fertile ground for singer/pianists, and meeting and falling in love with Kent Anderson, she moved to Sweden where she lives until today, performing, and writing regularly for “Live With Good Intentions” an online magazine.
Still growing, still changing
The latest news – 2009 and 25 years later, aged 75: a cd of her own songs for Imogen Records produced by George Reece, a concert of Johnny Mercer to commemorate his 100th birthday, poetry grown to 2000 poems (see Arlene Corwin Poetry).

2009 finds her favorite project on Google called Arlene Corwin’s Poetry, a project that started in 1949 or about 2,000 poems ago.

2010 landmark:  First published book of poetry, “Circling Round Time” comes out in September “To The Child Mystic” the second due to come out in December.

2010-11  Circling Round Time and To The Child Mystic.  The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative . Regular contributor  to online magazines ElderwomanSpace; Jerry Jazz Musician; Elderwomanstorytellingplace; 

2012 More books!  Circling Round Woman; Circling Round Our Times, Our Culture; Circling Round Vanity: Vaguely About Music and Circling Round Eros + 2.  Publised by Xlibris.

2013-2014 More & more! Circling Round Yoga, Science, War & Cats; Circling Round Nature; God Book; in the works A Sense Of The Ridiculous.

Music career took an upswing with performances and concerts – an intimate series of composer-of-the-month programs based on the best of American popular composers.

And, of all things, at age 77, the start of yoga teaching in Härryda, Sweden.  

Arlene Corwin is, as at this writing, 80 years of age. Over 3,000 poems.

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The Rare Event 1995 2003 2007#1,2

      The Rare Event
The lake was limpid, vitreous.
All the locals said it was
A rare event. Oh yes, I should
Have mentioned, it was frozen ‘good’ –
Frozen in its pulchritude:
Frozen and transparent!
Through the ice, glass smooth, glass-clear,
You saw the grass
That grows three feet below. But now,
The lake had risen high
To take the shore unto itself, and glorify
The skaters scooting in a line;
In and out of birch and pine
Nestled in a see-through ice
That could have passed for paradise.
Tufts that stand up winter round,
Wheat bleached strands at birch’s base –
Stood out because the coin-capped sprouts,
Unnaturally clear clean through
Like magnified and frozen dew,
Clung to the stem like frozen glue.
And from the ground and ice,
The lake grew small, exquisite ice-lace trees:
Tiny crystal palaces. Euphoric.
Long as frozen lake could stay
A mystic sweetness froze the play.
Glass-glossy lakes last just a day.
They are a rare event.
©The Rare Event 95.3.2/03.8.5/07.1.23 Circling Round Nature; Arlene Corwin

               A Rare Event #1

The lake was limpid, vitreous.

All the locals said it was:

A rare event.

And it was frozen –
Frozen and transparent.
Through the glass-smooth,
Glass-clear ice you saw the grass
That grows when lake is low.
Now the lake had risen high –
High enough to take the land into itself.
Skaters scooted in and out of birch and pine.
Tufts that stand the winter round –
Wheat colored strands at birch’s base –
Stood out, the coin shaped crystal sprouts
Unnaturally clear, clean through:
Magnified and frozen dew
That clung to stem like frozen glue.
And from the ice, piled branch on branch,
Minute ice trees,
Or tiny crystal palaces. –
Dependent upon how one sees:
Euphoric moments freeze,
Image playing on cornea for the day
That glass-gloss crystal stayed –
Becoming soon opaque.A Rare Event 95.3.2 Circling Round Nature; Swedish Book; Arlene Corwin 
©
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olympic Games Nineteen Ninety Sex 1996 2003

 

      Olympic Games Nineteen Ninety Sex

Forgive me God, forgive me folk,

I’ve got to make this little joke.

I’m not a girl who’s often vulgar-

After all, I practice Yoga,

Keeping mind and body pure:

Mostly mind. But I have eyes,

And one Olympic year the sure-

Fire fashion for the thighs

And loins were shorts exposing all.

When I say all, I mean the ball,

The bell, the jock-.

God, how they knocked!

And while the race was being clocked

The racers showed what Adam hid;

And while I tried to watch the race

My eyes kept dropping to that place.

I couldn’t help myself. They slid

To dingling, dangling, banging things –

Some small, some large, and all these kings

Of sport diminished in my eyes.

I didn’t wish to see their size,

For I was there to see the sprinters

And the long jump and the discus,

Knowing that they’d spent long winters

Practicing like titans. Now the viscous

Summer days, all damp and sweaty,

While the world with its confetti

Waited to exalt its heroes,

It was long, short dicks that hit my eyes.

May athletes, trainers, sponsors wise,

Fashion moguls on the rise

Remember, modesty is also prize.

©

 

Olympic Games nineteen Ninety Sex 96.8.16/ 03.8.6Our Times, Our Culture;

Arlene Corwin

 

In The World, Dear God 1996 2003 2004

     In The World, Dear God

Let me partake in,

Without being touched,

Bad TV and scrap mail

As much as I wish;

Newspapers, gossip

Without being bothered

Or tethered, or crutched –

A kitsch kind of worship,

A fun-God, female;

Flourishing, nourished

Enmeshed in the world,

Dear God.

©In The World, Dear God (found on the back of an old envelope dated 96.3.13)

re-worked 03.1.6/03.8.27.04.5.4

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; To The Child Mystic;

Arlene Corwin

 

 

Free To Be Free 2nd version 2003 1st version 1996

    Free To Be Free

Freedom is not freedom

To do this or that,

But action on the spot

Constrained not by before;

The impulse in the psyche’s core

Is peace, release,

Action and reaction

Being sweet, if mini-, cosmos.

©Free To Be Free (b) 03.1.6 version (a) 96.3.13

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative; Nature In & Of Reality; Definitely Didactic;

Arlene Corwin

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