Notes to Poem:|
"Betty Carter Blues"
Peter Y. Chou
|Preface: On the last day of the 33rd Annual Foothill College Writers' Conference (Sunday, July 12, 2009), Avotcja & Modupue performed a jazz concert after the Students Reading (6-7 pm). Avotcja Jiltonilro is a poet, composer, musician and published author. She has opened for Betty Carter. Avotcja teaches poetry, creative writing, music & drama in the public schools and the penal system. Modupue is the jazz band she plays with. Avotcja (ah-va-cha) introduced Eugene Warren as the bass player and Sandi Poindexter, the violinist. Avotcja played on small percussion while reciting her poetry along with the other musicians. I wrote a few haikus during the performance.|
Avotcja reciting poetry & Modupue playing jazz music
|When Avotcja said "Betty Carter ate up the microphones by the dozen", I was intrigued by this image, and learned later that Betty Carter was an American jazz singer. This poem is composed of 11 haikus of 17 syllables each. The last four haikus contain 20 songs from Betty Carter's Bet-Car/Verve albums written two days later.|
Commentary on Poem: "Betty Carter Blues"|
Summon a genii in / some ancient lamp and / ride a magic carpet
Images from 1000 Nights The genii emerged from "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp" to grant his wishes. A magic carpet, also called a flying carpet, is a legendary carpet that can be used to transport people who are on it instantaneously or quickly to their destination. The magic carpet appears in Walt Disney's film Aladdin (1992). An article "Physicists make ripples with their magic carpet" appeared in Nature, Vol. 450, 138 (December 17, 2007). A team of Harvard scientists has come up with instructions for how to make a flying carpet.
She shakes her rattle / of sand and pebbles inside / the old goat-skin drum
land of Scheherazade's A Thousand and One Nights
But I find no Sinbad / nor Aladdin nor / Ali Baba
Betty Carter eating / up mikes by the dozen / in jazz clubs all night
Overpowering / ever flowering / that's Betty Carter singing
the blues Lover man, / feed the fire, I'm all smiles, / all or nothing at all.
New blues with no words / we tried happy sounds / ev'ry time we say goodbye
I'm yours, you're mine / imagination close your eyes / this time you're mine, you.
Look what I got / I should care the man I love, / the good life, make it last.
Whatever Happened to Love? (1982)
Bruni's painting Betty Carter (1992)
Look What I Got! (1988)
| © Peter Y. Chou, WisdomPortal.com
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039