Kiss From Invisibility 2008

          Kiss From Invisibility

Who’s reading this?

I want to know.

Who shares the kiss

That I, the poet

Blow into the air?

I’m curious.

I’m always curious.

To plant a kiss on lips you see

Is child’s play.

But stretching, reaching,

Kissing in invisibility

From room, from bed, from chair

To no one there –

Is that not strange?

A kiss

From brain

To someone out of range

Whose lips are waiting,

Are a bait that cannot kiss you back:

It puzzles – does it not?

© Kiss From Invisibility 10.15.2008

Circling Round Vanities; Pure Nakedness; The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

Arlene Corwin

I Have A Koan 2008

       I Have A Koan

I have a koan.

It has a form.

It’s not a question,

It’s an order.

“Think of God all of the time!”

All of the time?

How do you think of God at all?

And in the second place,

How do you do one thing

While action-ing In all its aspects, all the time?

Koan – I have one

Cohen – I am one,


was one time a Cohen,So actually I am a koan,

Though born

A Nover full of Faith*.

But that’s irrelevant right now.

The order is to “Think of God!”

And that’s a koan that’s awfully good,

Informing mind and brain,

The busy-ness become the business.

In the definitions of a koan

To think of God as soon

As you awake,

From morn to noon,

All through the day,

Into your dreams

Is definitely koan supreme.

Since I began it

Forty-seven years have flit by


* I was born Arlene Faith Nover

© I Have A Koan 5.12.2008

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Circling Round Reality;

Circling Round Yoga; Nature Of & In Reality;

Pure Nakedness; To The Child Mystic;

Arlene Corwin


Arlene’s open-ended autobiographical background

A Dry, Dry, Ongoing Open-ended Autobiographical Article To Help Readers


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. Both parents were 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”.


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. It was THE university for me. I was introduced to and befriended 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, Roberta Flack and numberless amounts of 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 – and reaching for high notes. ” (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.

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, 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 acquired a weekly radio spot on nutrition and yoga on BBC’s Oxford Radio, and 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 simple 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.”

It was sometime in the 1970’s while working one night in a country pub when suddenly “I knew who I was and what I really sounded like. No effort, no imitation conscious or unconscious. No inner evaluation. Just me. It was a quiet, wonderful moment of revelation and permanent change. One (I) settled into one’s own voice.”

1970’s to 1982 and a lot of Yoga

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.

And Johnny Griffin. 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 by a lake, deep in the forest. until today, performing, contributing daily to her site called Arlene Corwin’s Poetry (click Google).











August Fifteen 2008

    August Fifteen


The mystery

Of why



Each August fifteenth

Of my parent’s anniversary.

It must show

The child’s love

That layers memory

In parts

That stand for long lost time.

It makes me sad

Where sadness has no feeling.

Background depths


And, as I said,


Why try?

© August Fifteen 8.15.2008

Love Relationships; Pure Nakedness;

Arlene Corwin



Childhood Reminiscence Of An Essence Of The Child Love 1960

   Childhood Reminiscence Of An Essence Of The Child Love

Brings near-as-missing, (almost here),

A camera clear conception

Of gefilte fish, my grandma’s

Own delicious fish, which

Dish was cheaper, keeping better

Then the other, grand rich mothers

Who did not use dark

But light fish. Grand gefilte,

Ground by hand and grand mothers.

Sweet tasting, oh, sweet taste…

And oh, the moment wasted hurting;

Worsest moment, wasted hurting when

The heaping other neighbor mothers

Dared – comparing cents per pound –

To flag a right of birth and brag.

White chastelessness, and that was fat.

Flat tastelessness, and that was that

With every bite…the camera fades

Into conditioned night.

A grocery-stopping grownup moved;

And not the simplest point was proved.

© Childhood Reminiscence Of An Essence Of The Child Love 10.25.1960

Pure Nakedness;

Arlene Corwin


A Life Out Again 1960 first draft form

A Life

Host alms

Almost gone.

Past ghosts

Tossed on.

Calm, lost,



Past costs

Mostly crossed.

A kiss less faith,

Leased near abyss;

Missed just

The least,

And ceased as bliss-

Seized face

Whose space

A cosset

Almost gone:

Are lean,


N’ over.

Half score,

Hard won, half won.

Hardening core

Increasingly creeps

Stealing over,

Sometimes still,

While shadow’s showdown hovers,

No – covers, until

Only a toilette

Chained child

Whose wet behind

Peers out

Bound, blind,

While out-eyes

Pour out tears out-size.


Toothless lamb,

Unsure lamb,

Pure lamb,

Pouring teething tears

Of truths abundant.

Damn not,

Lamb, but

Use the world

As sewer.

©A Life Out Again 60.11.15

Pure Nakedness; To The Child Mystic;

Arlene Corwin


A Life Out Again 1960

      A Life Out Again

Host alms almost gone;

Past ghosts tossed on.

Calm, lost, exhausted ghosts

Calm-dead; past costs

Mostly crossed;

A kiss less faith.

Are lean,


N’ over.

Half score, hard won,

Hard core undone,

Creeping, stealing over

While the shadows and the showdowns hover,

Covering the child toilette chained,

Whose wet behind

Peered out bound, blind,

While eyes

Poured sheer tears out-size;

Poor lamb, toothless lamb,

Unsure-getting-pure lamb,

Pouring tears of truths abundant.

Damn not lamb but

Love, accept and use the transformation

As your signs.

©A Life Out Again#2 06.9.15 #1 60.11.15

Pure Nakedness; To The Child Mystic;

Arlene Corwin (neé Arlene Faith Nover)



Small Changes 2008

             Small Changes

         (Stick To Your Essence)

I just do the honest song.

Born ’34, exposed to bebop jazz in ’50,

Took it in and went from there

Using changes in the air, my hair,

The wars, the weather –

Any/every- bringing on the songs

Borne from soul-meant-to sing.


Review of Morrisette said,

“Driven, pushed, experimental…

Great but lost…

Put your money on her past.”

Revolutionary changes,

Quirky works sold prematurely –


Ready change that branches out

Is evolution-steady,

Never artful, not a standstill.

I re-make, re-work, relent.

Change seems to do me,

I assent and ‘be’ – content


© Small Changes 6.4.2008

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

Arlene Corwin






She Was Like 1996


      She Was Like

She was like a flower slight

That has to grow in secret’s spell

To bloom. Is such an image right?

Is there such a flower? Well,

She was one alright, her light

In secret, undisturbed, Fertilized

By loneliness itself. Outside

Influence tried on for size

Proved far outsize; for her to bide

Her time in darkness’ peace, not being

Helped by hothouse heat, its fuel

A forced support, proved best for freeing

And expanding goodness’ rule,

Joy’s renewal.

She was like a fragile bird

Who sings its instinct song atop

The highest branch alone, unstirred

By staring, stirring mass. Bopping

Bird, creating son and word

For anyone who like to eavesdrop.

Beak aimed high, not for the mate-bird

Only, but for world and dewdrop,


Universe. Who can grow

Midst crowd, much noise and tv dinner?

Solitude and nature’s peepshow

Are the dynamo

For embryonic angels.



She Was Like 3.11.1996Pure Nakedness; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin

You Can’t Escape Yourself

You Can’t Escape Yourself

You’re getting bald. You say “Damn!
Why was I born to a family
Where the men lose their hair,
And the women get thin on the top?”
Desperate to make it stop
You change shampoo,
Taking hormones, selenium. You
Are too scared. It’s those genes.
You read health magazines, trying means
That cost dearly.
You’re fifty-three;
Time clock and family tree,
Dastardly, bastardly, lasting past ancestry
Quietly share in your hair and declare
That you’re called to be bald.
Bow, yield, accept! It is strong to accept.
Type those poems! Edit works!
Write without fits and jerks!
Send those letters! Stay fit!
Stop that coffee… “Oh, shit!
Where is the energy so sorely needed,
With sleep and rest coming out best?
Why is the good that I would…and etcetera too,
Just exactly the bad that I do?
But I’ve strayed, lost the meter. The poem is delayed.
It’s free form and discipline’s pros-e-try bent;
A poem ex-patriot: eye-form with content.
Content with that we can come back in a while,
Selves and the moment are never escapable.
Cause and effect the creators, create.
It’s never too late. We can wait,
Drape our fates in the work,
And be glad for our lot.

©You Can’t Escape Yourself 89.8.6/05.9.30/06.12.31/07.2.24
I Is Always You Is We; Pure Nakedness; Nature In & Of Reality;
The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative; Coffee Book;
Arlene Corwin

%d bloggers like this: