God, Am I Thinking [Enough About You?] 2008

            God, Am I Thinking [Enough About You?]

God, am I thinking enough

About you?



The eternal and true

Under layers of consciousness

Syndrom-ized, synthesized

Paving the way

From desires?


 © God, Am I Thinking Enough About You? 2.11.2008To The Child Mystic; The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

Arlene Corwin



No Idea Comes Out of A Vacuum 1994

     No Idea Comes Out Of A Vacuum

I used to think ideas were mine:

“I’ve thought of this, I’ve thought of that.”

I was a brat.

I trace the chain of all I know and nothing’s mine.

No chink belongs to, comes from me for free,

The idea tree, each root and branch,

Each leaf and bug

Reflects the pull and tug

That history has nicely wrapped –

The mystery of knowledge tapped.

It hasn’t come ‘for free’ I say

And yet I know it’s all been free,

A free for all and free for all:

Ideas were there before the Fall.


One has to try,

Make dud mistakes in honesty,

For no idea comes out at all

Unless the child’s prepared to fall.


And nothing’s wrong with being boring

If it’s usable to some:

It’s the ‘you’ that you’ve been storing

That leads someone toward light.

Level is a funny fight.

Time, from which there is no womb

Creates idea. You should assume

That tracks of all you thought you think

Are linked to line divine.

It’s there – I’ve felt its glow.

It’s part of what I feel I know –

And that sure comes from somewhere.

©No Idea Comes Out Of A Vacuum 94.12.7

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

Arlene Corwin





What’s Left 1993

      What’s Left
You work for years, build up technique,

Become a member of the clique;

Bel canto sound,

You want to sound good,

Learn to sound good.

Then as time goes by

The sound sounds boring, dry

And folks you’d hoped would like you die.

The styles change, the public too.

They seem like children now to you.

And what is left? A vacant cleft;

A sound that isn’t really true.

You do the honest thing.

You start to strip and uglify the voice.

You sell the Rolls, you sell the Royce.

The song itself becomes the choice –

The intellect, the heart a part.

You take the easy way, you say.

You’re much more simple when you play.

It starts to sound much more as you

Had always hoped to: like you do!

At least you’re singing with less stress.

The stress, instead, is in the art

And vanity’s a small, small part.

The pre-performance nerve’s caress:

It isn’t there. You’ve ceased to care.

What’s left is that you dare to dare.Where do you head? You’ve no idea.

Continuing to sing sans fear,

You simply sing, correcting all

The while.

You feel it’s false to smile.

That’s not to say there’s no smile there.

You’re lighter than you ever were.

You’re happy simply knowing where

You stand. The breach that once deterred

The song is healed. The once estranged

Is reaching for a newer range.

The only thing that’s left is change.


©What’s Left 93.5.5

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

Arlene Corwin


Waiting On Stinson Beach 1993

     Waiting On Stinson Beach

No ideas:

An empty vehicle used up,



To endless, varying resources:


I wait,

An arbitrary choice-

Less means;

Whose Arlene voiceless state

Is slate for God’s good rhyme

To write upon

In God’s good time.

©Waiting On Stinson Beach 93.4.15

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

Arlene Corwin

There Is A Talent 1993

                 There Is A Talent, They Said”
There is a talent”, they said.

But nobody chose to continue the thread:

Nobody knew what to do with such mead.

All that the talented nature could do

Was to lead itself slowly from form unto form;

Throw itself wholly from norm into norm,

Un-tormented by form, taking form by storm –

Subtle, gathering tact in the rhythm

That picks up a speed growing out of itself.

It pleads with the readable world for a shelf.

Talented person sits up in the bed,

Expressing the talent that sits in the head:

The dormant, fomented, the fearless and brave,

With rhythms insistent the gifted ones have,

He savors, he flavors. Carefully both.

There is the talent.

Which of us knows

The flowering from which

All talent grows?

Vines intertwined of meaning and form,

Life on the line,

Refining, defining

The scope of that chain of invention.


© There Is A Talent 11.23.2009

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

Arlene Corwin







Running Out Of Ideas 2007

          Running Out Of Ideas

Will it, can it ever happen?

(Can deserves italics)

Well, the way I see it

Cosmologically and such,

There is a touch of genius in the gene,

And in between the intra-space

Ideas stream, at rest or bubbling

À la cauldron in Macbeth,

Stirred or simmered

For this witch to alchemize,

Endless in



©Running Out Of Ideas 07.1.27

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative; Circling Round Energy;

Circling Round Reality; Circling Round Nature; Nature Of & In Reality;

Arlene Corwin








To The Soul Not Yet Whole 1962

       To The Soul Not Yet Whole

If swingin’s

All you’re bringin’

To music,

That’s not art,

But only part.

Or change your bit:

That isn’t it,

That’s only sham.

That is, if swingin’s

All you bring

To music.


Soul music may have heart,

Soul music may be smart;

Soul music may be art –

But not necessarily so.


Swing, man, hard and loud,

But man, you’re clinging to a cloud.

Call horn x,

Call music y,

Call yourself small letter i.

Remember son,

You modern soul,

The abstraction,

Means, the goal –

The three in one

Is solely you.

Practice one or all of these,

For art is born of one-in-threes.

Love will do,

And horn will do,

And absoluting you will do


©To The Soul Not Yet Whole (on hearing a record by Charlie Mingus) 1962

Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin


The Trick Is To Stay Fresh 1994

           The Trick Is To Stay Fresh

I heard a band four decades old.

“Good God, I thought, what a good band!”

How do they do it? Forty years?

What do they think night after night

When each man steps up to the stand –

Night after night his horn in hand,

Old licks, clichés

Takes his solos even on the days

His wife is sick?

And still they’re slick and stick it out

Night after night, year after year,

Internal tensions always there.

It must be like a factory job,

To entertain the drinking mob.

Or maybe not.

Maybe jobs have been a ball,

A chance to leave four walls,

Create, maintain a freshness,

Make some music on the spot,

Feelings tapped, without pretence;

Spontaneous, and proud of what

The dents he’s chalked up on his horn

All signify.

Perhaps, instead of blasé scorn

He manages to like the crowd –

The drunks, the dancers raw and loud.

Maybe the leader has charisma –

Makes each guy feel that he’s good;

Shows respect for solos

Drummer, sax or trumpet blows;

Drumming, blasting, bellowing.

By hook or crook, the trick’s eternal:

Keep the kernel of renewal growing,

Tapped and showing;

Ever crowing.

The trick is to stay fresh.

©The Trick Is To Stay Fresh 94.11.30

Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin



The Songbird 1997


       The Songbird

I heard a singer and was moved,

Which proves not much.

We’re touched by mediocrity,

The second-rate,

The bait of glamour.

Hers was honesty,

Simplicity dug deep in skill.

Talent and ability.

Oh, so good, voice many-hued.

Interpretation, even the

Pronunciation, woven in

The loveliness.

A jazz parfait: a marmalade,

Jade luminesence

Honesty, simplicity,

Substance in each nicety;

Who wouldn’t want to sing so well,

That those who heard would feel compelled

To tell the world what you exude

Though under-known and undervalued?

(such a gift might give me hubris where, too satisfied,

I’d have to watch for sins of pride.)

For now, there’s happiness-near-bliss,

Aesthetic saturation

Having heard this songbird sing.*


The Songbird 97.10.4Special People, Special Occasions; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin

* Sue Raney



The Sadly Futile Pretence 1993

                 The Sadly Futile Pretence

“This is the last song that you’ll ever hear me play,” he roared.

He sat down at his organ, striking one great chord.

“…the last song that I’ll ever play in this damned pub!”

And he walked up to the organ while the boss looked bored.

He played a song he’d often played, but with a great emotion.

He played his heart out, as they say. He played with great devotion

To the theme, and as he finished with a grand dramatic pause,

He took his beer, he wiped a tear and looked for some applause.

But folk continued talking; clinking glass was all you heard.

For the saddest cut of all was that, in fact, nobody cared.

“They’ll see they cannot do without me. They’ll be sorry yet…!”

He was thinking this with every pounded note he played that set.

Just a drunken little fellow who showed up each night at six,

And who stayed till two each morning showing off his tattered tricks.

Who’d begun to think he owned the club – played host and bossed around

Other players who showed up to play. He had to share the stand.

And if someone had a birthday or a graduation day,

Or if someone wanted Strauss, or asked to sing, then he would play.

Good old Charlie-at-the-ready, with unsteady hand could

Play light opera or a folk song. In his genre good.

Not professional, but in his amateurish way he played quite well,

Playing harmonies – not incorrect – just, what shall we say, – stale.

Dearest Charlie, dear loud Charlie, he could turn a tune.

And he sometimes changed the light-bulbs in his home in the saloon.

I’d have sworn he’d gone forever, if you’d asked me on that night.

But on showing up myself next week, he’d far from taken flight.

Walking round the club as always, telling all who gave an ear,

How he’d fixed the mike, had cleaned the keys, wouldn’t say no to beer:

“A strong one, please!”

©The Sadly Futile Pretence 93.7.5

Vaguely About Music; Special People Special Occasions; Small Stories Book;

Arlene Corwin





Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: