Monique Franklin “Heaven Is Me”


Monique Franklin photo courtesy of the artist

Community Corner is a series that invites the public to contribute their thoughts, reflections, observations, and more about the world around us, particularly as it relates to jazz and music overall. Earshot Jazz is dedicated to amplifying the voices and stories of artists and community members alike. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this series are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Earshot Jazz. Please email submissions to editor@earshot.org.

In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month and National Poetry Month, we are delighted to share the musings of Monique Franklin, a multidisciplinary artist who has been referred to as “The unofficial poet laureate of South Seattle”; “The Billie Holiday of Spoken Word“; “the Verbal Manifestation of Nina Simone’s Soul”; and the “High Priestess of prose, poetry and the art of storytelling”. Her poetry gives voice to social issues, human relationships, tributes to her many influences, and self-discovery. As a performer you can find her poetry commingling with musicians, vocalists, and dancers. Follow her work at verbaloasis.com and support her art via Cash App, Venmo, or PayPal @ moniquefranklin360.

Heaven Is Me

Heaven is me

Swingin’ from Duke to Basie

Swingin’ from stars to stars 

I tried to do it…that duet, 

But I got tired of covering up scars

so I, soloed outside of his ragtime composition a cage made of bars

Hailed Cab Calloway, the driver of my getaway car

Those Big band, born hip cats, allowed me to leave that riff raff 

on a high note that spoke “I ain’t your pitch, we are finished”

I sailed away on their musicianship 


My solo debut imbued my bass with hues


My tune wasn’t “All Blues”

I was brand new

and “Feeling Nina Simone Good”, too.

Now I am a smooth walking bass line

I’m plucking with no regrets

living my life upright with no frets 


 I am “Giant steps”  

from a time when I was too shy to Shine

I find perfection in Ella’s voice 

Intimately imitating any instrument of her choice

While scatting “How high the moon”

I don’t know about you

But I plan to continue to find myself

inside of great performers

My latest muezz?

 is that brother blowin’ his horn over there on the corner

You see him don’t you?

He moves music

Tones played

Punched with

Body jives and jumps

Sound seems to live and die on his fluid flesh

He is the surface of the sun




This jitterbugging musician 

Is a magician 

tugging sound out of phat air

Music hung out to dry

He plucks notes from the closing lines

and then throws them at the crowd

As if to say “Here, you try that on”

And they fit everyone perfectly

As he broadens his stanza

he arches his back

birthing notes 

his labor pains

are painted plain 

in contorted facial arrangements

it is purely possible

he could play without an instrument


he is the instrument


From the inside out

© 2010 Monique Franklin


Posted on

March 28, 2022