You Have NOTHING To Fear

 “I find myself filled to the beautiful brim with love, and with this shared love I continue to live my poem-life.”

Ted Joans

The Truth

by Ted Joans (1928 – 2003)
If you should see
a man
walking down a crowded street
talking aloud
to himself
don’t run
in the opposite direction
but run toward him
for he is a POET!
You have NOTHING to fear
from the poet
but the TRUTH

Ted Joans was a painter, trumpeter, and a jazz poet.  He published a number of books of poetry, all with his trademark collage creations on the cover.    He was an original jazz poet, bringing his spoken word poetry to the stage with jazz Musicians in New York City.   Like many black poets and jazz musicians of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, he grew tired of the systemic racism in the United States and left to travel the world.   He lived in West Africa and Europe, while only sporadically returning to the U. S for the last third of his life.   He died in Toronto, Canada. 

At his height of his influence in the 1960’s he rubbed shoulders with Jack Kerouac, Malcom X, Wifredo Lam and other influential civil rights leaders and beat poets.   The most often cited quote of Joans’ is “Jazz is my religion and surrealism is my point of view.”   When Charlie Parker died in 1955, Joans is the one credited with scrawling “Bird Lives!” all over lower Manhattan.  Joans believed in the power of poetry to change people’s perspective and change the world.   He wrote poetry from the view point of a loving revolutionary, focused on the dream of Black empowerment and a better more just future.   

It is unfortunate there is a typo on his name on the video below, but it is a great watch.   Check it out if want to see him with all his beauty and swagger.


Uh Huh

by Ted Joans

There it is
yup                     uh huh
that’s it no doubt about it
uh huh
that’s it
yes sires
Man this it it
the real thing
uh huh
no shit
here uh huh
no lies now
here it is
the real bit
uh huh
a fact
yep yep
right before the eyes
a truth
uh huh
well I be damn
here uh huh now this is it  Uh Huh uh huhuh huh uh

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A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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