Cal Tjader/Winston Plowes





I Remember You

After I Remember You by Cal Tjader, La Onda Va Bien, 1980


The vibraphone was the ice

chinking her glass of Blue Gin.

The flute was the lemon

twisting her arm.


His songs mixed colours

with the memories she kept

in a bottle half-full of truth.


Blue that was the kind of love

you could still taste in the morning.

The blue of happiness

only in season after a frost.

The blue of the inside of his eyes

the waking dreams he trusted her with.


She would fade slowly

but he would sustain her

through this winter and next.


Beyond that, hope was a change in the wind

as she ran to the north

and his signal became lost in the hills –


He was the bird that flew alongside her for too long.




The Night We Called it a Day

After The Night We Called it a Day by Cal Tjader, Cal Tjader Quartet, 1956


Drifting in the sand

he’d brushed under her carpet.

Drowning in the riptide of their harmonies.


She was the hair on his tongue

and he was her left shoe,

half a size too small.

They lived in each other’s headaches.

Coffee and cream in a cracked china cup,

deliciously black and stormy.


Black like a mirror that reflects only grief.

The black of falling,

the ninth life of a cat caught in headlights.


Wading through the days

with cold sunbeams for breakfast

and the needle nudging into the red.

They walked into a night of pure silence

calling it a day forever.


No words –

Just whispers

ambushed by their eyes



It Never Entered My Mind

After The Night We Called it a Day by Cal Tjader, Cal Tjader Quartet, 1956


They never knew how they got home.

Chaperoned by loss

under the skies of dashed hopes,

they wove together faint glimmers

bleached by moments of tenderness.


They searched for a morning

that draped itself over the trees,

snagged on the splits and tangles of love.


And once found,

the words that hung dumb

before they had left

shouted like cold spoons

down their backs.


So now they remain

with a pile of torn photos.

Sellotape and blunt scissors.


Cradled by the low hum of life.

Tracing round each others shapes

and tiptoeing over every “I love you”.



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