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Hot Summer Night (Jazz Songs for Helen Sung)

ISSUE:  Summer 2015
Hot Summer Night

Let’s go downtown. It’s a hot summer night.
Lovers are sitting in sidewalk cafés—
Breaking up, making up, hooking up, cooking up
Plans for tonight that leave them amazed.

Let’s go downtown. It’s a hot summer night.
Let’s not stay home and get in a fight.
Let’s eat spicy food in a dark little dive
And let our bodies know we’re alive.

Summer has come. The young are on fire,
And every tattoo spells a word for desire.
They’re strolling as naked as custom allows.
They never say later. They only say now

Let’s live in the flesh and not on a screen.
Let’s dress like people who want to be seen.
Don’t bring me home till the dawn’s early light.
Let’s not waste this hot summer night. 

Ballad: The Stars on Second Avenue

I’d say it was the stars
Reminded me of you.
But I can’t see the stars 
From Second Avenue.
The shimmer is just neon
Reflected in the rain
From the little corner deli
Where memory comes with pain.

I’d say it was the moon 
That made me lose my head.
But I never saw the moon
In the window by our bed.
It was just a street lamp
Shining in the dark
Above the empty bench
In the empty park.

I’d say it was the wine
That eased my heavy soul.
But I never take a drink.
I never lose control.
Maybe I should blame myself,
Maybe just blame you.
The stars won’t tell me anything
Here on Second Avenue.

Too Bad

Too bad,
So sad.
You’re such a fool
To make
Me mad.

No chance.
Honey, you lost
Your turn
To dance.

Beg, blame.
Call my name.
Don’t you know I
Won’t play
Your game?

Love your sweet words,
But now
Get lost. 

In a while
Your alligator tears
Just make
Me smile.

Moan, groan
On the phone.
You’re gonna spend


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