Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Is Jazz a Religion?

Duke said,

“People pray in many different languages
and God hears them all.”

I’m equally a Jew and Muslim,

both living in perfect peace within me.

I’m a little bit Baptist and a little bit Episcopal.

I yearn to swim in the living waters,

and hunger for the cup and bread.

I’m more of a Quaker then a Buddhist.

Only because I’m American and I can’t speak good Chinese yet.

But Buddha’s Lamp is my constant companion,

illumining my every step in this dark world.

I’m also equally composed of east and west Indies
and sometimes even druid.

The Great Spirit and Tantric arts

remain mysteries to me.

I only know them by feeling.

And yes our Afro Heritage.

The drums, the whistle, the dance,

synchronizes our heart beat

to The Beneficent One’s finger taps.

Yes we celebrate The Holy Spirit

with cymbal, voice and drum.

I am a full dues paying member
to the 2nd Hoboken Chapter
of the Unitarian Universal Catholic Church Respectively.

We meet down the block from Sinatra’s Synagogue.

We are all apostles and responsible

for our small spaces that we rent here on earth.

I know I’m 100% Zoroastrian.

I am mesmerized by the fire.

My heart aches for the light.

I tend tiny candles

and listen for the lonely fire

of Coltrane’s sax.

I’m a nun and
a Thelonious Monk.

We run an inn for weary and lost travelers.

We build hospitals to cure the infirm;

and schools to teach the golden rule of love.

We try to do things differently.

Dizzy practiced the Behai faith.

“OOM BOP SHE BAM” I pray.

You Tube Video:

Dizzy Gillespie,

Swing Low Sweet Cadillac

jbm

Oakland

12/26/98

February 8, 2009 Posted by | jazz | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dreaming of Electric Jazz

The weather report called for a mix of sun and clouds.

The forecast read, partly sunny, partly cloudy, rain would change to sleet and snow. The temperature would rise to just below zero; a new all time high, as I lay sleeping, dreaming of electric jazz.

A purest said, “that ain’t jazz” as I wrestled him for the last copy of “Get Up With It” in a dilapidated record store. (This is the same guy from my baseball dreams. He hates the designated hitter.)

“This fusion is just the bastard child of rock & roll; a mere reaction to heavy electric guitars and synthetic synthesizers,” he shouts as I rip the record from his hands.

“This synthesis is more then just three cords strummed in a Capitol Records executives head,” I said. “This bitches brew, will return forever as long as I sing the body electric.”

I rolled over and pulled the blankets up to my ears as the clock radio played Miles’ Red China Blues.

jbm
Oakland
11/26/98

You Tube Video: Miles Davis, Electric Miles

February 3, 2009 Posted by | jazz, poetry | , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Jazz

Little Jazz on my birthday
KCR special every year
Schaap lays down the JAPT grooves
All the tracks of this Steeltown cat
A perennial birthday bash
Takes me Uptown
With Roy and Anita
Strolling arm and arm
Singing bout a city
Checkin out the sights
Knockin me a kiss
On the fat lobe lips
Of my eager ear
Ole Little Jazz
Hittin the high note
Blowin somethin cool
He played with all the great cats
Hell he’s one himself
Lion of the bandstand
You can hear a tiger growl
When he blows that horn
Or hear a prissy pussy purr
Fine and mellow on a bouncy ballad
Or a lonely tomcat moanin the blues
As he swings down some dark alley in Chicago
Yea, he’s one cool cat this Eldridge dude
One cool Little Jazz cat

jbm
Paramus
1/30/99

You Tube Video: Roy Eldridge, Sunday

Risk: creativity

January 30, 2009 Posted by | birthday, jazz | , , , | Leave a comment

Step Into The Sunshine My Friend


Step into the sunshine my friend,
let it kiss your face and refine your spirit into a golden bar.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
come out of the shadows of your past,

emerge as a saintly being clothed in angelic white.

Step into the sunshine my friend;
may the great sun inflame your soul

with its magnificent grace and transformative power.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
wipe the darkness from your eyes
and see what miracles the new day brings.
Believe in all the light you see.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
let the radiant beams of love ignite your passions;
and your heart will bust forth like an exploding star
washing the galaxy with positive energy.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
receive the fantastic glories the day brings to you
and revel in them all.

Step into the sunshine my friend;
bathe yourself in the warm river of humanity.
Recognize yourself for the first time in its watery mirror.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
witness the delicate flower break through the hard crust of earth,
and marvel as its fragrant bud blooms.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
experience the glow of a child’s face,
and let them lead you to the next 10,000 sunrises.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
feel the soft rays touch your wounds;
know how the daylight can heal.

Step into the sunshine my friend,
smell the ocean heave against the climbing sun
and listen to the wisps of the meadowland’s verdant fragrance.

Step into the sunshine my friend;
see the sparrow take flight toward the light,
watch its tireless wings glide on a blanket of rising thermal air.

Step into the sunshine my friend.

jbm
Oakland
122698

Note: Risk Rapper is still enraptured in the ebullience of Obama’s Inauguration. Though not composed for the event the above poem captures some of the current sentiments of Risk Rapper. We will be posting on current events tomorrow. Cheers, RR

You Tube Video: Ramsey Lewis, Sun Goddess

Risk: Cursing the darkness

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Obama, poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

The Year of Being Here

Be here this year!

Turn off cell phone

be still

be active

fall in love

tell the truth

struggle for justice

free a prisoner

walk for peace

be a friend

find a friend

mentor a child

take a hike

ride a bike

revel in nature

smell the coffee

grow some flowers

start a garden

honor God

read a book

write a poem

paint a picture

click a photo

say a prayer

maintain silence

hold your peace

sheath a sword

unload a gun

practice peace

dance joyously

sing gleefully

speak softly

love largely

climb the mountain

linger in the valley

dip toe in water

tip toe through tulips

pet a dog

feed a cat

protect a child

care for the aged

listen to someone

open your ears

hear someone

lift your eyes

see someone

go fishing

feed someone

conduct a search

find someone

watch the moon

bless the stars

write a book

start a business

make some money

lose some weight

drive courteously

cook a meal

swim the sea

sail a boat

get some sleep

be kind

be useful

be diligent

be reverent

be genuine

be helpful

be still

be present

Be

God Bless

Have a Present Day!

You Tube Video: Bob Marley: Jammin’

Risk: Not Being Present

January 1, 2009 Posted by | Tao | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Homeless Shelter

bitter winds bite a desperate heart
early darkness unsheathes a slivering moon

the perfect celestial sickle
threatens to thresh exposed digits

wayward trundlers heaving bulky sacks of woe
scutter down the city’s darkest side streets

making haste to the only lighted room
that still welcomes them

cots boast lumpy clots
of errant springs and jagged hooks

grappling the lodger atop a mattress
in bumpy knots of institutional green

coughs and snores, cusses and laughter,
sighs and tears all ceaseless prayers,
some mumbled, some shouted, some thought,
some farted, some sang, some roared

Speaking mutely of the weighty day
resenting new hard memories
hoping for a dreamless sleep

jbm
NYC
12/31/08

You Tube Video:

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: Moanin

Risk: moral clarity

December 31, 2008 Posted by | homelessness, poetry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Lark Ascends

Lark
John James Audubon

This weekend I attended a memorial service for a six month old child that passed this world. The service was moving and emotional. The young parents and the departed’s two year old sister were gracious and carried a quiet strength through their visible grief. The service was attended by many friends and family members that were eager to offer support and love. Life is fragile and sometimes fleeting but time spent on this earth has little to do with the quality of a life lived.  It is how one is loved and how much one has loved that marks the quality of a life well lived.

Christmas reminds us that every child that comes into this world is a profound gift. Honor the gift of life by respecting the grace of childhood. Children embody beauty, innocence, purity, the miracle of life and the power and presence of unconditional love.May we be always mindful of the special needs of this world’s children and take action to help and nurture those whose needs are apparent. By giving help and offering a hand we truly receive the grace of love.

A poem composed for the dearly departed.


The Lark Ascends

The lark ascends on light wings
Taking flight toward a heavenly home
It lingered here but a short while
Certain of the course she must go
A delicate beauty and playful grace
And twittering eyes revealed
Deep trust for love and sturdy branch
Of her verdant and earthly home
We reveled in her abundant joy
She fed our spirits and fondest hopes
Her gossamer wings a fragrance breath
Her heart angels hath divinely blessed
The lark is light!
The lark is life!
Her song forever young
The lark is kind
The lark is Thine
The lark is winging home

LAP
God Speed Beloved
12/20/08


You Tube Video: Janine Jansen, The Lark Ascending

Part 2: Janine Jansen, The Lark Ascending

You Tube Video: Josh Groban, What Child is This?

Risk: sanctity of life

December 23, 2008 Posted by | children, classical, faith, family, love | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

City of Broad Shoulders

“Boyish Man”

The cosmic scales are correcting Chicago’s over abundance of positive karma. A rebalancing was clearly overdue. The Windy City’s favorite son, Barack Obama was beaming constellations of light and hope like an exploding quasar showering positive electrons onto a depressive American culture in a recessive state of mind. We needed the positivism. We needed a reason to believe that we can uncouple ourselves from the fear and loathing of a broken political system, bankrupt bankers, the drudgery of war, the gloom of recession and a nation tearing itself into a thousand pieces along the million fault lines of our fractured cultural divide. President Elect Obama convinced us that it didn’t have to be. We could arrest our slide into the slow boil of constant simmering conflict within our boarders and in the far reaches of the globe where America is intent on projecting its dissipating power. The man from Chicago said it didn’t have to be. The man from Chicago said he had a better way. The people from American agreed with the man from Chicago and said, “Yes We Can.”


But fate, destiny and determinism has a curious way of bringing us back to earth. After we have looked over the highest peaks of our expectations to glimpse the possibility of our ideals we get smacked in the face by greed, corruption and the callous disregard for others that human beings use much to frequently as the common currency to guide our interactions and relations with one another.


First there is the greed exemplified by Sam Zell. That crusty Chicago street guy who is as tough as he is smart. He parlayed his gifts and built a multi billion dollar real estate empire in Chicago and eventually sold his company at the height of the market. He pocketed a cool $6 bn in that transaction and used a tiny fraction of the proceeds from that deal to buy the Chicago Tribune newspaper chain; owner of the LA Times and the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field as part of the package. Mr. Zell financed the large portion of this transaction with equity participation and debt assumption collateralized by the assets in the Tribune Company pension funds. As the fundamentals of the newspaper industry deteriorated the Tribune deal quickly went south prompting Mr. Zell to initiate his exit strategy while the company filed for bankruptcy. Zell’s trying to cash out of the deal recouping his small initial investment. Workers at The Tribune Company feel Mr. Zell did irreparable damage to workers retirement funds and degraded the company brands by placing the company in a most precarious financial position to extract a maximum return on Zell’s small initial investment.


Next there’s the story of the month, the arrest and indictment of Illinois Governor Milorad “Rod” R. Blagojevich. Mr. Blagojevich is accused of seeking compensation or favors in anointing the successor to sit in Mr. Obama’s vacated US Senate seat. Apparently this is a trend with Illinois Governorships. Once they leave the governor mansion the career path leads to a cell in a federal penitentiary. Three of the last four sitting Governors made the move and one is still serving time. The culture of corruption among our country’s political and business elites seems to know no bounds and its symptomatic of Americas deep crisis in leadership and citizens deepening cynicism and distrust of institutional leadership. This distrust was a major reason why the American electorate overwhelmingly turned to Mr. Obama. His message of change resonated with our deep revulsion of executive fiat placing their personal interests first last and always in any decision or program.


This scandal has legs. It has the potential to walk down Wacker Drive taking with it important allies and supporters of our President Elect Obama. Already Senate Candidate #5, Jessie Jackson Jr. name has surfaced in this scandal. Republicans can make this a major political trauma for the incoming administration. Good grist for partisan politics is bad medicine for the United States as it desperately needs strong and focused leadership from our executive branch of government to get us through our current multidimensional crisis.


Lastly we have an industrial action at Republic Windows and Doors. The management of the company shut down the business stiffing the 300 plant workers of their separation pay and benefits rightfully due them under federal labor laws. In response, the workers have taken over the factory and refuse to leave until they are paid the separation compensation due them. This is the callous part of our initial equation of greed, corruption and disregard for those who are vulnerable. We salute the courage of the Republic workers actions. The Republic workers have turned their vulnerability into a strength that inspires all Americans and hopefully will open the hearts of Republic management to settle accounts with their former employees.


Yes the cosmic scales over Chicago are correcting. They are tilting back in an infinite flux of balancing the attainment of our desires and needs with the prohibitive reality of restraint borne from the power elites inability to cede anything. A return to normalcy as its business as usual in sweet home Chicago.


CHICAGO

HOG Butcher for the World,

Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;

Stormy, husky, brawling,

City of the Big Shoulders

Carl Sandburg



You Tube Video: Muddy Waters, Mannish Boy


You Tube Music Video: Buddy Guy, Sweet Home Chicago


Risk: political, ethical, moral,

December 12, 2008 Posted by | corruption, Obama, poetry, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment