What Sense Of Order? 2012

What Sense Of Order?


My sense of order is outside the ordinary.

Organized peculiarly, order craving effort,

(for it runs, hops skips)

Connections vague as cirrus but,

Like cirrus’ crystals,

Ice fixed in geometry,

Not cloud, not chaos, not free verse

Are ideas bursting:

Fragments freed

Then unified.

My sense of order is not cute.

Its root in gene, route evergreen,

Unseen, it is productive.

After all,

It has produced this poem,

Its meter,

All while organizing ornaments,

And paper.

Ordained by

An outer space, out of this orbit,

As orgasmic as organic.

Orchestrated mind organza at its sheerest,

I lie here amazed as you

At what disoriented mind can do.


What Sense Of Order? 4.2.2011

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative II;

Arlene Corwin





Metaphor For You-Name-It 2008

          Metaphor For You-Name-It

If I wasn’t always

Humming, buzzing,


With new writings, I could edit

And get rid of flaws

That stem from ignorance

And clumsiness, bad taste, et al.

Instead, I let inspired self

Create unpolished and poetic

Truths that feel urgent,

Linking chains, in hot pursuit

And never catching up;

Precision, the sublime,

Like soldiers in the vanguard.

© Metaphor For You-Name-It 8.15.2008

The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

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


To A Trumpetless Musician Sitting Tuneless In The Tombs 1960

To A Trumpetless Musician Sitting Tuneless In The Tombs

Is his lot’s to rot,

Then rot he does;

Because of what?

Above the car-horn din,

Horned in by gloom,

Aloof, a genie sings within/

Without his being.

Now entombed,

Not faring well,

One city cell,

One man of music

Sans his trumpet.

Justice, just this once?

The Tombs is a NYC jail. Tony Fruscella was a luckless genius trumpet player put in jail for possession of marijuana. He died in July 1962, aged forty something (See Why Did He Die) He recorded little but influenced everyone he met or played with.

©To A Trumpetless Musician 1960

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

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 Courage To Say This Is The Way My Soul Sounds 2006

The Courage To Say This Is The Way My Soul Sounds

Now you start,

Discarding all neurosis

Grounded in the fears of failure,

Certain in your heart

“I am creating as I speak”

Avrah kedabra!” – Aramaic.

I will lose the seven deadly sins

Or use the seven deadly sins,

Converting them to sharp discernment,

Wit and wisdom, common sense,

Clear thinking and refinement.

And singing out, and when you pen,

And when the music of your days marooned

Is opened,

These will spring from courage that says

This, my prize, my non-disguise,

My jazz, my phrase – these are the ways

In which my soul sounds

And has sounded in its silence

Since its cause.

©The Courage To Say This Is The Way My Soul Sounds 06.7.28

I Is Always You Is We; Vaguely About Music; Definitely Didactic;

Arlene Corwin



Flogging A Phrase To Death 2005

  Flogging A Phrase To Death

Guilty: of a


Lack of will,

Lack of curiosity,


Shameless preferences

And being in a hurry

To ride highways of the temperament,

Pathways in the brain.

Then it’s dead:

(You’ve checked the corpse

Who’s present by its absence)

Missing from your memory.

No more in use.

A kill

For skill

And art.

©Flogging A Phrase To Death 05.12.7

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

Arlene Corwin


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