Here’s Robben Island, where he waited
for the stink to grow so horrid
they would line up for new ways.

There’s Johannesburg,
a city that fouled the letters in its name.
But not any more.

Here the hospital he lies in,
while Death takes off his hat and,
out of respect, grants him a short parole.

There the players he co-opted,
Saying “You work for us now;
Your uniforms will be white and black.”

The 20th Century dies when he dies,
Its greatness and its horrors shoveled in together.


RWP Remembers Jaco Pastorius

Thanks to all who came to the Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Jaco Pastorius Birthday Party at GainVille Café Nov. 22  and to all who played- VICTORIA WARNE, PETER McCULLOUGH,  MARK FOGARTY and BILLY CARRION Jr.

The set list was AMERICA (Mark); BLACK CROW (Victoria); JACO JAM -THE CHICKEN (Pete and Billy); DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (Pete and Mark) and, via the miracle of technology, Jaco himself on DREAMLAND and CHROMATIC FANTASY.

The spirit of Jaco was very much alive in Rutherford, NJ as the bass maestro’s 62nd birthday was recognized! Other musicians played during the terrific open mike and were named honorary bass players for the night. FRAN LOMBARDI was our fine featured poet.

December is an off month for the holidays but we’re set to be back at GainVille Jan. 24, see you then!

WCW – Marisa Frasca

The Williams Readings present

Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

Plus the words of William Carlos Williams
and open readings from the floor

Marisa Frasca is a poet and translator whose work has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies. She was named first-runner up for the 2013 national Bordighera Poetry Prize for her manuscript Via Incanto: Poems from the Darkroom judged by distinguished poet Lia Purpura. Frasca holds a BA from The New School and an MFA in poetry from Drew University. She serves on the board of The Italian American Studies Association, The Italian American Writers’ Association, and the advisory board of Arba Sicula. Her fluency in Sicilian and Italian has highlighted her participation in bilingual poetry readings and festivals in and around New York City colleges and universities. She was born in Vittoria, Italy; her immigration experience informs much of her work.

Transforming the I (fragment)

The maple leaves danced hip-hop
in the breeze, birds spread their wings and interrogated
the expansive rose colored sky. I couldn’t understand
what they were asking. But for a little while
their song allowed heart to lift and empty its laments
before retracing my steps to a roach infested Brooklyn tenement
lowering my head, hand over my mouth I entered
the old dark and narrow hallway of the immigrant.

Poetry and Remembrance

Join the Red Wheelbarrow Poets at GainVille Café Friday, Nov. 22 as we present the fine poet FRAN LOMBARDI and a special feature, our third annual birthday party for JACO PASTORIUS, the avatar of the bass guitar.

Fran is a member of the Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ weekly writing workshop and has had her poetry published in our most recent anthology.

Our Jaco b’day salute joins a tradition that has been ongoing every year since 1997. We will have music from THE THREE BASSES (bass guitars, that is) of PETER McCULLOUGH, BILLY CARRION JR. and MARK FOGARTY. And we’re hoping Jaco himself will drop in, through the miracle of technology.

After that we will have our Bring Your A Game open mike with generous reading times. Join us for a special night!

7 PM, 17 Ames Ave., Rutherford.
A $6 cover includes coffee/tea and dessert.

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