Friday, June 19, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This

for ornette
by Diane Castiglioni

now his soul free downbeat’s straight up
when his keening                   heart   
improvised   heaven
this jam jiver kicked                    out and bloodied
for the saying
       and staying                        true to the   tremolos in his head
rendered stone   cold    sober angels                   breathless
out of nowhere                    he blew                   in the   spaces
dancing  breakneck   in the                   pulse
of silence
cherry    harmolodics in the prime    time of funk
    master of plastic shredder of metal
he was the blue bop  grammar  of sound
in the shape of                  
the tongue of                  


in the shape of the tongue of time
he was the blue bop grammar of sound
master of plastic shredder of metal
cherry harmolodics in the prime time of funk
dancing breakneck in the pulse of silence
out of nowhere he blew in the spaces
rendered stone cold sober angels breathless
for the saying and staying true to the tremolos in his head
this jam jiver kicked out and bloodied
when his keening heart improvised heaven
now his soul free downbeat’s straight up

This poem was recently linked to a dVerse prompt inviting us to write palindrome poems, in which the second half mirrors the first by putting the lines in reverse order. As many Poets United members also play at dVerse, some of you may have seen it already. I wanted to use it now anyway, firstly because I think it's an extraordinary and thrilling poem; I only wish I could have the gift to write such a gem! Secondly, I was one of the many who loved Ornette Coleman's music, and I am glad to have found this way to honour him here (by proxy) close to the date of his recent passing, on June 11 at the age of 85.

The New York Times obituary describes him as 'one of the most powerful and contentious innovators in the history of jazz'. Indeed, the obituary goes into fascinating detail about his musicianship as well as his life; do read, if you haven't already.

I think this poem, which mimics the improv of jazz, is similarly different from more widely-used verse structures.  And oh, the words!

he was the blue bop  grammar  of sound
in the shape of                  
the tongue of                  


Wow! and Yes!

Diane Castiglioni is a featured writer in The Prose Anthologies: Volume 1 Death, a contributing author to the French edition of Dictionnaire Universel du Pain (Bouquin Laffont, 2011), and an editor of the International Cooperation for the Development of Space (ATWG, 2012). She teaches collaborative poetry and has poems published by various small presses.

Currently, you can read more of her writing here

(That link is to an interesting site for writers to share their work — called Prose, but clearly including poetry. Unfortunately, it seems you have to log in to see what's there. I and some others have found it worth it to be able to read Diane's work; and no doubt there may be other treasures to find ... or it could be another showcase for our own writing.)

Diane is also part of a small international network of ‘knowledge workers’ who design events for solutions to help organizations tackle complex problems with a variety of tools, including art, music, technology, collaboration, metaphor, inhabiting perspective. Her focus is on community development and activism, helping alleviate issues of poverty, racism and the stigma of mental illness. 

How fascinating is that?

You can find out more about her work here at LinkedIn.  

Her other social media are:

She is private about details of her personal life, but her Google+ profile tells me she lives in Paris, France, which seems to me very exotic. (People LIVE there? Well yes, a couple of million I believe, lol.)

An interesting woman altogether!

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. I do remember the poem but I was unable to comment on her blog...thanks Rosemary for featuring her...the poem is truly a gem...

  2. WOW! What a treat, Rosemary. I do love how the poet's wording and rhythm echoes that of jazz. I liked that in the reverse stanza, the lines were formatted, which lent impact. Thanks for the introduction to this wonderful poet. I, too, am always amazed people actually get to live in Paris. I always wonder if the Eiffel Tower is so familiar it is just part of the landscape, while it makes the rest of us swoon.

  3. This is a wonderful poem, Rosemary! I really love how she did the palindrome poem by arranging the lines so creatively in the forward version & then in the more 'usual' way in the backward version. Really a stunning poem, and it makes me realize there are more possibilities with palindrome poetry than I had realized.

    1. Mary, you'll be glad to know I have come to that realisation too! ;-)


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