Friday Feature, Jazz

Blue in Green – Joe Bidder

Our featured publication this week shines the spotlight on a brand new publisher doing some extraordinary work in the poetry world.

Dizzy Press is a new independent literary publisher dedicated to producing high quality books of poetry by disabled poets. Their first publication, and our Friday Feature, Blue in Green was made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England’s National Lottery funded Project Grant scheme. Dizzy Press aims to publish 10 books in the next 10 years, bringing a range of voices from the UK to poetry audiences globally. https://dizzypress.co.uk

Headstart

Inside the barber shop
I pose before the mirror,
then stop –
as the age
flashes to my face.
He cuts away
at the loose ends
as I cut away
from the past.
The face reflects the fear
in the polished glass,
my feet want to flee
but lead pounds in veins
where blood used to be.
So, I sit seemingly patient
whilst my face is transformed
from a hairy throwback Aztec
to a slickly groomed Casual.
It should be easy
to adopt this tame new role,
sink back inside
the well-worn groove,
rest on my record.
As grey speckled hairs
fall thick to the floor
I fear the head-hunter
will search once more,
the balding patch
does not please at all;
when the cutting is finished
he shows the back of my neck –
so clean and neat
that I panic,
reach for my cash,
nearly over-tipping
in haste
to escape
the reflection
of my face.


The Tool of My Trade

The tool of my trade
is not a club or a whip
not a bucket or spade
or word from my lip,
the tool of my trade
is a pen.
It’s not the pen of the teacher
though he tries very hard,
not the end of the money man
counting jeans in Taiwan:
not my pen.
My pen is poised to strike
though I’m a peaceful man;
my pen probes originality
but my origins aren’t unique.
The tool of my trade
is not a pick or an axe
not a mechanical aid
or tune from a sax,
the tool of my trade
is a pen.
It’s not the pen of the clerk
scuffling at computer’s foot,
not the pen of the psychiatrist
scribbling prescriptions:
not my pen.
My pen awakes when I least expect,
makes me glide on my dreams
to challenge my mind:
my pen is my implement.
Now, I must confess:
the tool of my trade
is not my pen,
though I thought
I was in control
the pen is the master of my soul
for I am the tool of the trade
of my pen.


About the author: 

Joe Bidder is a poet, published author and founding member of Survivors’ Poetry. He is the author of Blue in Green. He is also a writer, critic and publisher. Joe served as chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain’s Arts and Disability Advisory Panel and was a member of Arts Council England’s Literature Panel. Joe was born in 1941. In his life, Joe worked as a chemical engineer. He graduated from Imperial College in 1962. He travelled and worked around the world, selling oil refineries and power stations as a successful businessman. At age 33, he started writing poetry seriously.

In 1991, Joe co-founded Survivors’ Poetry along with Peter Campbell, Frank Bangay, and Hilary Porter. Survivors’ Poetry nights hosted diverse line-ups of music, poetry and comedy, attracting audiences and fans from across the UK. Acts included comedians Harry Enfield, Paul Merton, Molly Brown and Julian Clary; poets Patience Agbabi and Jean Binta Breeze; and other then up and coming names. What started as a self-help group, Survivors’ Poetry soon became a charity and evolved into a UK and global movement, inspiring chapters in Manchester, Leeds and throughout the UK.

As a publisher, Joe Bidder set up Survivor’s Press and published two poetry anthologies.

Blue in Green is available now with a launch event planned for the 22 April – you can find out more here: BLUE IN GREEN by Joe Bidder | Dizzy Press

art, Jazz, Poetry

Dick Jones

Morgan, Mulligan and Me

‘My Funny Valentine’
Art Farmer – trumpet
Gerry Mulligan – baritone sax
Bill Crow – bass
Dave Bailey – drums

There was
it seemed
a chance
after all

a chance
that in spite
of the thick
cat curve of

Morgan’s midnight
hair; the
electric green
surveillance of

those Cleopatra
eyes; the
devastating scorn
of that

elevated lip,
she might
just notice me
for all my looks

laughable un-
photographable.
A neutral party
told me late

one Tuesday
after lunch
and with all of
break before us
(this for the price
of my last
French cigarette)
that you had

a thing
a real thing
a kink for a
saxophone.

Where all
the other girls
had things for
a kiss-curl fall

or a hand
drooped limp
at the wrist
or a hip-switch

twist away from
the microphone
you favoured
the blue smoke

of a saxophone.
So it was tongue
and breath against
bone and sinew

and I knew that
this I could
accommodate
and more.

So when some
other afternoon
(the golden hour
gone grey with rain)

I saw you curled
alone along the
studio window seat
watching the wind

in the trees
along the drive
I slipped
the disc from

its whisky
amber sleeve
laid it like
an offering to

the turntable
lifted on
the stylus and
sat down across

the room
head bowed
hands clasped
in shadow.

Mulligan and
Funny Valentine:
the lemon slice
of Farmer’s

trumpet lead;
the distant bumble
of the baritone
before it lifts

its fuzzy head
and whispers
its sweet and
cruel put-down

praises up until
the two slow
circling voices
wood and wire

ice and water
drop together
wound into
that comic valentine.

And she uncoiled
raising shoulders
lifting hips turning
last her head

until like a
sideways sphinx
she watched cat
still cat steady.

Then she said
Encore and coiled
again but now
away from light

and facing shade
my shade.
She smiled. And
I smiled too.

 

Dick Jones

In 2010 Dick received a Pushcart nomination for his poem Sea of Stars. His first collection, Ancient Lights, is published by Phoenicia Publishing (www.phoeniciapublishing.com/ancient-lights.html). His translation of Blaise Cendrars’ influential epic poem ‘La Prose du Transsiberien…’ was published an illustrated collaborative edition with artist Natalie D’Arbeloff by Old Stile Press (www.oldstilepress.com/osp_book/trans-siberian-prosody-and-little-jeanne-from-france/)in 2014.

 

Gerry Mulligan Quartet – My Funny Valentine