Lyrical Somerville – March 1

On March 1, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times


Gary Rainford lives year-round on Swan’s Island with his wife and daughter. He is the author of the poetry collection, Salty Liquor, founder of Island Verse, a creative writing literacy enterprise, editor-in-chief for The Island Reader, and an adjunct Professor of English at Monroe Community College. Summer 2016 Gary’s suite of poems called We Are Here was an honorable mention selected by Betsy Sholl for The Gabriel Zimpritch Memorial Poetry Prize at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, ME. Gary’s next collection of poetry, Liner Notes – 64 ekphrasic poems describing 64 musicians as artists making music – is forthcoming.

Gary Rainford

Blue Skies


“Summertime,” Ella Fitzgerald—

eyes closed and sweat running down

her cheeks—jazzes


every syllable into a thin line

of horn-like phrasing which conveys

a lifetime: her mother’s fatal


car accident, her stepfather’s

lewd, felonious hands, the Colored

Orphan Asylum in Riverdale,


New York, winning amateur

night at the Apollo Theater, the Decca

years with Dizzy Gillespie


and Louis Armstrong, be-bop,

a Grammy-winning “Mack the Knife”

performance, congestive heart


failure, both legs amputated,

diabetes, her final days wheelchaired

in the backyard of her Beverly Hills


mansion, and her granddaughter.

“I just want to smell the air, listen to the

birds and hear Alice laugh,”


she tells her son, a soft smile on

her face, fish jumpin’, the cotton high,

and where the livin’ is easy.


— Gary Rainford



To have your work considered for the Lyrical send it to:
Doug Holder, 25 School St.; Somerville, MA 02143


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