The Niteblade Blog Train, What’s That? – Jazzy Vampires
What is it about jazz and vampires? They’re constrained by rules — the exact ones depending on the folklore you follow, but in all cases they seem not to be at their best in daylight — but within those rules they do their utmost to twist and break them, to improvise as it were, just like jazz music which also often seems at its best at night. Both are a bit shady, a bit disreputable, yet when confronted demand respect. Both are parasitic, the jazz taking from the melody it improvises on. Both, under the right conditions, are sexy.
So what does this have to do with NITEBLADE, this being part of a blog train celebrating that electronic magazine’s fifth anniversary? And what’s a blog train? For the latter I quote NITEBLADE editor Rhonda Parrish: “What we’ll do is take the number of people who agree to participate and subtract that many days from Septamber 1st. Then I’ll start things off with an opening blog from the Niteblade News site [see link at the very, very top of this post]. I’ll talk about Niteblade and our blog train and link to every participating blog. The next day someone else will blog on their personal blog [me, right here, on Thursday August 9 2012], and the next day another person [see link at the very, very bottom, beneath the poem and its attribution — but not until tomorrow].”
Okay, so I added the stuff in s.
“Each blog can be about whatever you want, as long as it somehow connects to Niteblade, however obscurely. You could talk about a story or poem we’ve published. . . .” Well that’s the idea.
So, as for the former — what does this have to do with NITEBLADE? — well, my connection is that over the past five years I’ve had poetry published there. And also an interview in NITEBLADE NEWS, for which see below for September 5 2011 or, if luck is with us, press here. Two poems are mentioned in the interview, “Winter Wonder(2)” which is not a vampire poem (it’s a killer snowman poem) and “Second Chance” which is, but isn’t about jazz.
But ah, two before them, two that go back to NITEBLADE’s first year, to September 2007, issue #1, on pages 16 and 47. In her cover email for my copy Rhonda took time to say, “I’m so excited. I really feel like this is the start of something awesome. . . .” And these poems are jazzy.
I’ll quote just one here, at the end of the post, the one called “High-Flying” — it’s also the one NITEBLADE poem that is reprinted in my book VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE). But the other, “Metal Vamp,” can be read on this blog by going to the far right hand column and, under “PAGES,” click on “Poetry (Essays).” Then scroll down to the third essay, on “Edgar Allan, Allen Ginsberg, & All That Jazz,” and, well, read the whole essay while you’re at it. But after a quotation from Ginsberg’s “Howl” and mentions of Poe’s “The Raven” and “The Bells” (“the poet as carillonneur!”) I quote a review by Daniel C. Smith from the March/April 2008 issue of STAR*LINE discussing “Metal Vamp” (“The sudden start/stop stop/start feel to the minimalist lines and the way the imagery punctuates the rhythm serve the poem well while providing both a chilling and an arousing effect. Dorr reminds us that even in death there is an undercurrent of sexuality”), followed by the poem itself — the epitome, perhaps, of the vampire and jazz, first published in this case in the November/December 2004 STAR*LINE, but reprinted in NITEBLADE’s premiere issue.
Be-bop baby, she
slides to the brasses’ strain,
red gown too-tight
taut-fleshed legs dancing.
She smiles, dark eyes flashing,
teeth white, laughing in the night,
moonlight enhancing pale
skin in the shadows.
She smiles, she entices
collecting her trophies,
in flight she, an aeronaut,
lifts her prey with her,
in ecstasy rising.
In blood-crimson crashing.
First published NITEBLADE, September 2007; reprinted in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), August 2011