the rain, beating


a philly-joe solo


on the brim of


your fedora

can’t even get


your foot


in the front door


of the jazz joint

Charlie Parker CDs

The Essential Charlie Parker  /  Charlie Parker: A Studio Chronicle 1940-1948  / Charlie Parker with Strings


Diz ‘N Bird at Carnegie Hall  / The Best of Charlie Parker  /  Jazz at Massey Hall  / Boss Bird


South of the Border  /  Confirmation  / Ornithology YardBird Suite

*   *   *   *   *

bird on the wing

By DB Cox

you traded

your cabaret card

for somebody’s

idea of paradise


& now —

you’re standing

outside a club on

52nd street,


the rain, beating

a philly-joe solo

on the brim of

your fedora


can’t even get

your foot

in the front door

of the jazz joint


they named for you –

bird, the man

who could glide over

chorus after chorus


smooth, sure, & fast

as your little sister’s

ass, & never run

out of things to say


bird, “liberator of paris,”

“king of bebop” —

gets another royal

welcome home


so, what now —


the jazz clubs

are being replaced,


with strip dives


& they’re playing

rock & roll

over at the

paramount —


claiming, bop’s

just an outline

of the past,

a graveyard ghost…


*   *   *


but you can

come with me —

if you wanna go

to kansas city


a place where you

can play without

a goddam license

& you won’t have to be

charlie parker with strings;

you can be free —

a bird-on-the-wing…

posted 12 November 2004

DB Cox is Blues musician/poet, originally from South Carolina, now resides in Watertown, Massachusetts. He has had writing published on-line in: Verse Libre Quarterly, LauraHird.COM, Zygote In My Coffee, Remark, Underground Voices, Sacramento Poetry Art & Music, and others. His work has appeared in print in: Aesthetica, Circle Magazine, Shadow Poetry, My Favorite Bullet, Mystery Island Magazine and Open Wide Magazine.

He has played guitar since the age of 14. After graduating from high school in 1966, he did a 4 year stint with the U.S. Marines. After his discharge, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the Berklee School of Music, where he eventually found the blues circuit. He loves writing for the same reason he loves playing the guitar — a way to communicate how he feels, at a given time, on a given day.


*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

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update 28 December 2011

 Anupama Bhargava Table

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