20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

Five Minute Poem #12

Jazz as breath
In and out

But sideways
And other ways
Unknown until

Not scripted but
Not random

In rhythm and time
And time again
When just off the beat
Is right on

Comfortably unknown
In a familiar sort of way

And ways to see
And ways to feel
Anew and Askew


(c) 2014, Norman Dziedzic Jr.

1 Comment

Riding Up to Harlem

Riding up to Harlem in a silver chariot.

Hustling & Bustling during a season of busy “cheer”.

A child laughs, a mother cries and I see the city reflected in a hobo’s eyes.

As I exit the train I hear Jazz musicians serenading commuters running by.

I hear a world of renaissance that has passed me by.

I think of this village called Harlem and feel the spirits of greats pass me by.

Can I add a stroke of paint to this village mural and contribute beauty with ashes?

125th Street Subway Station Mural in Harlem



When I checked my email this morning I had the coolest surprise. Back on March 7, I had written a poem titled “The Jazz Pianist (To Bob Milne).” Several of you even commented on it, which was very nice.

This morning, however, there was another comment, and you’ll never guess who it was from. Yep, Bob Milne himself. He said, “Oh my goodness. I had no idea anyone had done this. Yes, I played concerts three days after carpal tunnel surgery. Your poem is wonderful. Thank you. Bob Milne.”

Can you imagine that? Of course I responded. My question is…how in the world would he have seen this, even though it’s almost seven months later? I’m so curious.

At any rate, it’s exciting for me to know that he read the poem I wrote about his fantastic performance.


Come, listen to the wailing saxophone,
see jazz musician sitting on the street.
A group might gather or one all alone
drags notes into the subway station’s heat.
The humid air is broken with the notes
that emanate from his brass horn, like quotes
around important words. How he can play!
If I weren’t in a hurry, I would stay.




All of Us

Italian, German, Yugoslav or Greek,
a president or queen, a shah or sheik,
professional, blue-collar, we all work
together, retail buyer or the clerk.

Perhaps we’re at the sunrise of our lives.
But sinking sunset color soon arrives
for all. We’re equal on that playing field
and it no longer matters if we reeled

in fish or cooked and served them up gourmet.
Are you a CEO? Does potter’s clay
appeal to you? Are you a fan of rock
or jazz? Do you live on a city block

or in the countryside? Is Marc Chagall
your own artistic taste, or do you fall
toward Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans? Does
it matter? No, our world would be a-buzz

with peace if we would tear down all the walls
of artificiality. No brawls,
just justice, friendship, courage, even hope
would paint our scenery, our vision’s scope.



Yesterday when my grandchildren were here I gave my granddaughter her piano lesson, but my grandson said, “Grandma, could I not have anything new this week since I’m going to be gone all week?” I said, “Sure,” understanding that he will be at Boy Scout Leadership Camp for the week.

“But,” he said, “I can give you a lesson if you want.”

And he showed me how to use Spotify on the computer to create playlists of music. What I noticed while he was doing this was his expert ability in helping me to understand the intricacies of Spotify, and his patience. He allowed me to try everything out so that, as he said, “When I’m not here you’ll be able to do it.” He was a wonderful teacher, and I complimented him on that.

Last night around 4 AM I woke up with severe lower right leg pain and was surprised to see swelling and bruising there. The pain was so intense I had to get up and move around. Eventually I found myself at the computer. Guess what I was doing? I made playlists of piano music, “favorites” (Beach Boys, Elvis, and the like), Christian, Enya, My Fair Lady, and added to my jazz playlist, and it was fun. At the moment I’m listening to piano music as I write. It’s so relaxing and nice to write to musical accompaniment.

And it’s a reminder of the sweetness of yesterday when my grandson was in his element teaching me.


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