True Confessions: When I’m High

           True confessions: When I’m High

 You all know how one just loves one’s morning cup of coffee!  

 When I’m high,

And morning cuppa’s done the trick,

Slow-ish thyroid smart and quickened,

Then I start;

Choices clear, mind too,

Arms, legs, body knowing

What to do

And even how to do it.

‘High’ sounds utterly,

So totally, so wholly, awfully

So negative.

(Forgive the ‘so’ dear reader, dear.

Its hyperbolic overkill so clearly

The result of coffee).


Back to diplomatic understatement:

When I’m high and un-befuddled,

Elevated in an un-bemuddled way,

In optimal condition where

I share in

Energies that pick and choose

So’s not to lose a time so prime.


And yet, the wonder is,

The mind, which picks and clicks,

Multi-tasking, seeding shortcuts,

Riotous new recipes,

Old elements, new mergers.

Even quiet-less, no-fuss ideas

From made-up phrases that proliferate.

Remembering,  selecting, nominating:

High’s amazing!

And it only takes a cup of coffee to a-raise it.

Thus I praise it!


In conclusion:

If there’s been collusion between you and me,

And on some level you agree

I’ve reached the goal of vers-itry,

And these one hundred ninety

Really odd, God given words were worth it,

Then it’s worth, been worth the birth pains and the plod.

  True Confessions: When I’m High 3.12.2018 A Sense of The Ridiculous II; Coffee Book II; Arlene Corwin




Coffee (AConflict of Values)

Sitting up in bed on a Sunday morning editing, re-writing, refining. A bit long but worth it in the reading – thinks I!

        Coffee (A Conflict Of Values)

Catering to a certain need for stimulation,

Even relaxation and the psychic high,

Coffee bean in cool, dark tin,

Fragrance and the oil in

The box or jar or bag’s supply

Of pleasure ought to make the drinker

Think a little about why

The bitter sweet is such a stinker,

In whose absence droops the mood

The energy, the good;

Whose undemanding look

In cafeteria or china cup and just a slurp

Creates the nervous, wrecked and hooked.

Symbol of that quiet urge

For pleasant conversation’s purge,

To say this has a feeble ring,

Insistent urge to reach a high, high as the sky

From just a thing

(to say this has a feeble ring),

Well, surely pleasure comes from means

Far less addictive than caffeine’s

Delicious smell and taste,

Java’s clutch (was Java Dutch?)

Conversation’s time-filled waste;

That needs no brew,

Nor company of two.

But then, an energy from what?

Oh dear, the will is weak

When pleasure lies within the cheek and coffee pot,

And one has never learned the art

Of keeping silence in the heart.

Bitter devil, wreaking havoc like a weevil

On plantations of the body.

To steal upon the cells by stealth,

Speed the heart, adrenals, pulse,

God knows what else;

Claiming vitamins and health –

And still the perils lie elsewhere,

Where habits have their hidden lair,

Vice/virtue, meet excess;

Battling for their piece of peace,

Posing as a social duty,

Threatening in bitter beauty.

Dear, oh dear, I fear that life (it’s clear)

with coffee’s here to stay,

My own cup one small hour away.

From Macbeth: the coffee oath:

Stir the sugar, stir the milk,

Make the coffee smooth as silk,

Help the migraine, the depression;

Be benign in our transgression.

Tranquilizing our confusion

Make gregarious the nation.

Cof-free or cof- fiend?

Or just plain coff… and what you make it be?

Coffee (A Conflict of |Values) 4.21.1994 rev 1.8.2011/2.4.2018Coffee Book II; Definitely Didactic;Arlene Corwin








I Need That Drug (silly, aging me)

           I Need That Drug 

It’s 4am and I’m awake,

And so I take up Mac

Who sits beside,

And grope for pen to start the ride

Into a poem,

For phrase and rhyme of the most nebulous formation

Have installed themselves into my equally

Unclear and foggy brain train station.


Left to need a drug to write,

This sluggish mind awake this night

And cloudy when it’s morning light,

Won’t think, won’t write,

Cannot create

Until that cup of coffee.


So, until the sun comes up

And hubby brings that morning cup

With warmed milk and a pancake.

I remain unwillingly awake

Mac’s screen the only source of luminescence,

Pen and paper of the essence

Funny ponderings, mental wanderings,

Scrawling like a daft bedbug

Waiting for the morning gulp

To bring my muse to shape and type

The rest.

I Need That Drug 11.5.2017

A Sense Of The Ridiculous II; Coffee Book II;

Arlene Corwin



You Never Know The Clout You Have

       You Never Know The Clout You Have


You never know the clout you have,

Clout being a blow or target –

Most of all effect or power

You exert by being you.


Take care! Be careful, scared! Be wary!

Everything you say, you do –

Each word, each vow, an influence.

In circumstance you radiate an ambience

You pray will be benevolent.


You, you

In all you do;

And you have impact.

Make a pact with mental you

To be a kind and, gentle you,

Giving out rewarding vibes,

Enriching, beneficial, fruitful.

You, yourself a scribe imbibing

Influences from abroad,

From world untoward – in discord!


Take some in and turn them ‘round.

You abound in power.

You can be man* of the hour

Just by being who you are.

You can be the lucky star

Of every person you encounter.

So remember!

You ne’er know the clout you have

To save what ever may occur.


* of course woman too!


You Never Know The Clout You Have 4.29.2017

Definitely Didactic; Coffee Book II;

Arlene Corwin




Caffeine Magic

One day I’ll send all my coffee poems to the coffee companies.  I’m probably their best advocate.  My Coffee Book #1 is already out.  This belongs to Coffee Book #2!

Caffeine Magic


Real writers write

Once they’re had their coffee –


On a tray

In bed before they start the day.




On his deathbed


Asked for LSD.

On mine

I’ll ask for



Caffeine Magic 12.17.2015

Coffee Book II; The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative II;

Arlene Corwin



Arlene Corwin’s Open-Ended Biography

Arlene Corwin’s Open-Ended Biography 

(10.3.2007 updated 10.24.2007 updated 1.3.2008 updated April 2012 updated August 2017)


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.
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 wareffort. 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 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, 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 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.
1959-60 a member of the original John La Salle Quartet/opened the Dick Kollmar/Left Bank New York nightclub. (In and of themselves they were important and those in the know or, who are interested will look them up).

“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”.

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

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).

August 2017 poetry numbers update: 4400 poems!!! ((t can’t be!)

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 Published: Circling Round Time (Xlibris) available

2010 Published: To The Child Mystic (Authorhouse) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2011 Published: The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2011 Published: Circling Round Woman (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2011 Published Circling Round Vanities (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2012 Published: Circling Round Our Times, Our Culture (Xlibris)available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2012 Published: Vaguely About Music (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2013 Published: Love Relationships (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2013 Published Circling Round Eros + 2 (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2014 Published Circling Round Yoga, Science, War & Cats (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

2017 Published Circling Round Everything 2015-2016 (Xlibris) available Amazon/Barnes&Noble

As of 2017: 4400 poems!  (Can it be?)

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