English Teacher, Dead And Buried – James Penha

I am no Sinatra. Neither a Connick a Crosby
a Bublé a Basie a pawn or a king though
in my time I entertained rooms as many
as well as the Voice at some saloon or casino
interpreted the standards
found the phrasing
stretched each word up to its breaking point to
break every heart
give heart to those who’d
sing or play or arrange or compose themselves.
I chaired the Boards for years but with fate ever
to be Harry Edison together again daring
to beep beep beep a muted horn beyond the scores
attending to nothing but the sweetest sounds still inside
the thinking hearts of those who would solve the riddles
of their lives.


A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. His essay “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” was featured in The New York Times “Modern Love” column in April 2016. Penha edits TheNewVerse.News, an online journal of current-events poetry. You can also find him on twitter @JamesPenha.

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