ROBERT ALLEN BECKVALL – 3 COVID JAZZ POEMS

Jazz Inspired Writing Project

In the Time of Covid-19

May

Another lovely day because I didn’t take a header off the 12th story balcony. It would surprise the shit out of the folks washing their car down there. Blood, suds, brain matter and spinal fluid. About to die, I say very quietly that I need a drink like Dennis Hopper in True Grit. And luckily they had a hose handy, and they could wipe my brow with the shammy.

<jazz inspirations>

<Pravin Thompson-A Thoughtful Collapse>

<Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass-Going Places>

This is like my DNA, played so many times in my house when I was growing up. We had whip cream too.

<Yazz Ahmed-Under Quiet Skies>

This life was lived to the fullest, including hearing your horn, young lady. Sublime.

<Yussef Dayes-For My Ladies>

Who profits from the revolution?

Chaos?

Death and destruction?

Who gets a kick, laugh, of their jollies from a million dead?

Hitler, yes.

Who is Hitler now?

Who grinds, for pleasure, under their boot heel?

<Arturo O’Farrill and The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra>

Mother’s Day Thank You/Mahalo/Gracias Letters to Mi Madre Y Mi Esposa (clarity of vision in the time of virus)

~

My Mom-Sandra Sue-The Red Headed Kid from Miami, Arizona

A swan ran right up to me and bit my stomach

Laugh-In, while we practically lived in Burbank. We were born in Burbank. We laughed in Burbank.

I fell out of a tree in Hollywood or thereabouts.

The Batmobile was on display.

The Rose Parade floats, floated past the laundry mat.

<Tito Puente>

We saw the Beatles “Yellow Submarine”

They baked a chocolate choo-choo train cake.

Tacos in yellow paper from Taco Bell, tacos from Jack-when there was still a jack-in-the-box on display

You teamed up with the lady from the Phoenix Library and changed my life forever with Dr. Seuss

Thank you for reading to us from the fairy tale book.

It was a pleasure staying up late with you and watching Johnny Carson.

We watched Walter Cronkite and Neil Armstrong “Take that giant leap for mankind”

Thomas Mall was wonderful with those fish and birds on display.

It was great going with Gram B. to the cafeteria.

We hung with Louis, Rudy, Auntie, Ray, Mickie, the cousins, and of course Gram J., where the slag lit up the sky like lava.

Thanks for tennis, ping-pong, the yellow radio, running/exercising/salads/yogurt, movies late at night, Disney records, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, popsicles, seeing the dog go crazy and tear up the trash and get on the kitchen table, and taking Bill home because he got too scared for the tent.

Thanks for taking my side when I had to smash that kid with a stick in the woods after he pissed on me.

Thanks for the interesting mixed bag of an honors student who was also the student that got in the most trouble.

Thanks for taking me to football and baseball and YMCA.

Thanks for camping trips and trips across the country.

Thanks for cabins, chalets, trips to Disney, trips to Juarez, seeing Elvis’ Graceland, and for helping me take the bottles in from construction in Memphis.

Thanks for letting me spend hours in the record section.

Thanks for letting me play Kiss, Elton John, and Queen too loud.

Thanks for swimming in the swimming pools.

Thanks for the meals, meals, meals, and the cool lunchboxes.

Thanks for halloweens, and Casper masks, and dressing like a bum.

El Paso Tennis Club, Ahwatukee Racquet Club, Kiwanis Tennis Center, Tempe Racquet & Swim, & Corona del Sol.

Thanks for being there when I scored some touchdowns in El Paso & Globe.

Thanks for being there when we baptized the little Chinese kid.

Thanks for the Christmas & flowers & John Wayne.

Thanks for the green enchiladas off Mill at the City of Tempe.

Thanks for the love & thanks for being there for 56+ years.

 

~

For My Beautiful Chinese Girls on Mother’s Day 2020

I am sorry about today and everyday, that was a heaven & hell. As you can see I was an honors kid, who fought, lit fires, smashed windows, stole things, smoked, drank, raised hell at school, and was generally a little shit. There is something wrong under the hood of the car of me. The engine is astray, and it runs very well at times, and at others it sputters and chokes, and makes loud explosions and belches smoke.

This early morning it is running cool and fast, with your favorite music, and on the way to your favorite destination. So let us listen and ride:

Poor mom got so sick when she was with you. Throwing up with regularity, even as she ate so many vegetables so that you could be smart and strong.

When you were born, they had to sew mom back up. It was harrowing. Of course I made it back from the hospital cafe for the great event.

You slept on my chest that night as mom recovered.

OK world, let us announce that Xiao Yi J. Wang-Beckvall is here. The Chinese Viking. AKA, Eir Wang-Beckvall. The Valkyrie Healing Goddess. Did we have some fun?

Running down the birds by the ocean, on my back for Waikiki adventures while mom played tennis, hanging with cousin Matty T at the Turtle Bay.

Rainbow School and checking you in every morning with the armed guards at the federal building. You were VERY safe.

Little outfit for Sacred Hearts, in the dance class and your first piano lessons with the Sister.

Good fun in Arizona at the club, at the Reid Park Zoo (giving a Marine a Barbie for the Toys for Tots), the Desert Museum.

Mom was so nervous at the baseball game, that ran long as the D-backs took so long to beat the Cardinals. The babysitters were up while you cried.

How about some terrorism? Some 9-11? Some Luis Gonzales hitting the winning shot in the bottom of the 9th?

Damn, it’s hot in Tucson & Phoenix. It was light and nice at Mt. Lemmon, in Sedona, in Flagstaff, and eventually in Prescott. In Heber and the Mogollon Rim, it was pine smells and breezes.

Waikiki School was wonderful, and you were a hit to boot. Accompany the singers on piano, play your part in Carmen, and you were what? No, we were what? The student of the year for 5th & 6th grade, while we were named family of the year too? With a certificate from our legislator, still on the fridge as I write? (your damn straight)

You were a thoughtful kid, a quiet kid, a solid kid, a loving kid, a smart kid, with a tough mom, a mom that could go from medicine to education to real estate. A couple of real winning attitude women, and the world needs you now more than ever, as fools of men want to blow up the world because “they can’t have it”, WWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

It is and was a team effort, mostly with mom and you, but I was there always with a quiet tear in my eye as you sang in broadway numbers, and were named “bestest” young woman of Hawaii. I enjoyed helping you drop off things for the homeless kids, making cards and singing with the old folks at Christmas, and you gave tennis lessons to the little kids here and there.

Mom, like moms around the island, USA, and world are, the backbone of the family, the thoughtful ones, the tried and true ones. The ones that pick up the shit, when the shit hits the fan. Probably thrown by the dads, or sons, or brothers, or other foolhardy souls that inhabit this same realm.

It seems queens and princesses will have to teach and nurse and doctor, and lead their countries out of this black time we call life 2020.

Those beautiful ones that eat vegetables, sing to their stomachs, and stay up at 3 a.m. throwing up because it has to be done by the strongest ones. She is them. Thank you girls. Chinese girls. Strong Chinese girls. Let’s swim.

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