Beat Away the Blues 1967

(Ekphrastic poem for Nina Simone, Boston Photograph by Lee Tanner 1967)

Stand alone in a world of black on white

cords disappear in depths, wires spark sound

with lips apart arms apart lights apart

eyes hidden behind wider angles flash


holding up the metal sun of the mic

roaring at the hub city on the hill

from old north to bean town to break down

for the flowers who wouldn’t run to war

say feeling good to beat away the blues.


Leaning back standing up pushing forwards

monochromic performance without sound

snapshot of a world that has gone away

and don’t you know we still need you to stay

to cry power for them for me for you.


Join portraits in the halls of a genre

Of a photograph of power in sound

On paper holding paper with no words

In galleries in history on cards

Hang from smoky walls and gift shop windows.


Pose above in a world without colour

But between the frames there is still the song

because there the music aint dead no more.