Album cover of Out of Nowhere

I was at Melody Records one fall day, flipping LPs through most names, all letters, all sections, not looking for anything in particular, just looking for anything. I came to “C” in Jazz, hesitated for the hundredth time over those Sonny Clark albums, then flipped up to an unidentifiable blue one. I looked closely.

Out of Nowhere by Sonny Criss. I had heard of him, but not from him. His was a name I’d been curious about, but had never had the opportunity to investigate. Except, wait.

Did I have an mp3 of a session with him and Charlie Parker…

A poem about life in a new subdivision

Photo by Christopher Raley

The tree was dead when we moved in,
the first owners of our new home.
I bumped it once with the lawnmower and
it fell headlong, leaving in our lawn
a small, decapitated trunk.

Later my wife gave birth to our son.
We watched him grow and watched him walk.
He painted his room with diaper ointment
and he didn’t speak until he was four.

Throughout these years
the city that owned our strip of lawn
periodically left notes saying
their tree had died in our care
but they would replace it.
Once, an emissary of the…

Photo by Christopher Raley

Photo by Christopher Raley

Christopher Raley

Poems and photos. Contact me at

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