Perhaps I should be grateful

That I never was recipient

Of great applause, years of adorers,

Years of being stunning,

Broadway’s honey (or the like).

Grateful that

I never had to bow out,

That I never got

To miss the kudos

(Never knowing what life was without them

‘Cause I never got them.)

Never got to play Las Vegas.

Grateful that

There never came a time of missing,

Longing for the non-existent encore;

Cheering I no longer hear.

Hair gone gray,

Kilos heading the wrong way,

You are asked to make a comeback,

(Or you’ve asked to make a comeback)

For life’s boring, and no hobby takes the place

Of people sitting in their places.

So you sweat and strain

To get those kilos off again,

To get back those routines

Where you could move (like in your teens),

With flexibility, the voice

Retaining every nuance.

We’ve seen Frank and Cher

Come back again…and then again…

We follow each rendition,

Each gradation, limitation and we cheer

Until we find our cheers have hesitation.

I am grateful that I never

Had the clamoring for autographs and tresses,

Tearing dresses, theirs and mine.

Never had the glamour and the clamor of the masses –

And the need to make a comeback,

Coming back to public whimsical and smelling wine,

Hard to define.

And still I grow.


Comeback 5.28.2008

Birth, Death & In Between; Time; Vaguely About Music;

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





2012 in review Arlene Corwin Poetry have-a-look

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

In A Sea Of Indefinite Tonality 1998

In A Sea Of Indefinite Tonality*


When I write I choose the ‘I’

To work out questions.

By the by,

The process opens up to hope,

Enabling, ennobling,

Rising like a little bird,

A fledgling bird

With soft-down hops that grow in scope

And magnitude.  It improvises

Till the flight is executed,

Taken up above the rooftops –

Earthiness conjoined to sky,

Combined to ply

The answer out of

All the early wasted movement.


In A Sea Of Indefinite Tonality 4.8.1998

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

Arlene Corwin


* Quote from Simon Rattle


The Conclusions That We Draw 2012

The Conclusions That We Draw

We read into it what we are:

nothing more.

We interpret:

nothing more.

In touch, sight, sound

We listen with our backgrounds,

Enjoy through aptitudes,

Construe according to proclivity

And time of life; the acme

Of all prefaces that takes in every truckload

Of the word.

The Conclusions That We Draw 2.28.2012

General Prefaces; Vaguely About Music; Circling Round Reality;

Arlene Corwin

After Last Night 2012

After Last Night

Sitting in the bathtub thinking

What a pity

That the memory

Gets in the way of now.

Last night’s success

Completely gone –


Spent absolute.

No substitute.

If time is taken

To think ‘then’

(Just hours ago),

A method

To make then a ‘now’


Losing the moment?

Maybe some can.  I can’t.


Bath Again 2.8.2012

Bath Book; Vaguely about Music;

Arlene Corwin

Conversation With An Idealess Pianist 2012

Conversation With An Idealess Pianist


Consent to itit coming through,

With It creating endlessly

In rhythms strange

And structures new,

(Like flakes of snow).

Say, “Nothing’s coming out right now.

I’ll wait and see.

Perhaps tomorrow…



Out of nowhere,

Chord, phrase, quicker hand –

A pianist to ‘beat the band’

(But not for always) just today,

An increase

Until object,

Target, purpose,

Angle shifts

(It goes in phases)

Once again.


Conversation With An Idealess Pianist 1.23.2012

Vaguely About Music; The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative II;

Arlene Corwin





Because Of Fear 2012

Because Of Fear


Ruled by fear, he sits at home.

Not out in years

Nor in a dentist’s chair,

Teeth rotting, missing,

Dread of falling down the stairs

(Three or four at his front door)

He sits at home, the TV going

While assuring those he phones

That he’s not really watching.


In an armchair he calls throne

He sits alone,

The throne not king’s –

More beggar/clown.

His drinking’s slowed,

His ‘pot’s expanding;

Cigarettes smell up his pants

And everything else in the house.

The legs go like an old, old man’s –

Weakened by disuse.


A man who once had perfect pitch,

Once in demand by groups and bands,

Perfect ‘time’, his bass sublime;

Those gifted hands

Have stopped, a clock unwound.

He’ll never wind it up again

Unless a wonder intercedes.

He needs

a miracle.


Because Of Fear 1.10.2012

Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin




A Work In Progress 2011

A Work In Progress

Art is that,

Poetry, piano jazz:

All works in progress.

Friends of mine know that.


I’ve never written, played a piece

I’ve not revised – at least

Each time I’ve sized it up,

Done it twice or thrice or

More, more, more….


An awkward phrase

Needs tempo, elongating, shortening,

Abbreviating – simply wrong.

I once thought, is any artwork finished… ever?’

I still think it never is.

Life perhaps?

Never finished… I would

Like to think it is.


Work-in-progress, always

Where one dares, inspired

By a change

In mind inspired by one better.

Breathing in, metabolizing

Something better

As the letter becomes yours.


Brasher in a quiet way: maybe later in the day,

Observant and articulate,

Alert to nuance new.

Always on the way…

To rainbow’s end, maybe no end,

Restrictions ever loosening,

Never ending progress

That keeps saying “No, not this,

You silly-billy.”

Not advancement but evolvement.


A Work-In-Progress 12.4.2011

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

Arlene Corwin

Not An Old Song 2010

            Not An Old Song

Grr, to platitudes – like gratitude –

That lose their punch,

Bunched into

‘The Worn-Out Department of the Brain.’

A lodger lovely and essential;

A sweetness liking everything

That comes its way;

Everything a favor.

Twisting, turning,


‘til you find a reason why –

(lawyers do – to win the case).

In this case, if you’d win it:

To feel grateful every minute.

Fresh and cool;

Not an old song –

A rule.


© Not An Old Song 9.15.2010

Nature Of & In Reality; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin

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