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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Our visit to Saint John Coltrane Church, August 2015

John Coltrane by Neil Jacobs

Toni Lumbrazo Luna and I were married in 2015, and we decided that our honeymoon would be a California reading tour. We read our poetry in Berkeley, San Francisco, Eureka, and and Monterey. One of the highlights was a featured reading with Julie Rogers, David Meltzer, and saxophonist Zan Stewart at Bird & Beckett Books.

In the following excerpt from the travel poem we wrote during the trip, we visit the Saint John Coltrane Church in San Francisco. I was reminded of our visit when I read the following article on the NPR website:Five Decades On, An Eclectic Church Preaches The Message Of John Coltrane.

I am very pleased to learn that the church is soldiering on. 

Happy 94th Birthday, John Coltrane.     



No pics allowed at

Saint John Coltrane Church

Sunday Mass

sparsely attended, at first


the energy in the room is palpable

Procession takes place

in a room behind the stage

as we wait


“open your hearts

as we go into



            tears well


                        sit or kneel


                                    and confess


“Praise Him.

That’s alright now.”


some join

some don’t


beautiful tapestries

with likenesses of Trane

and Lady Day

hang throughout the



Miles Davis

draped across

the donation table


as the older cat

w dreads hanging below his knees

blows, my heart cracks open


                        shies away a little


                        when we get to


“one God        one god”


            same old


                        push and pull





                                    desire &



                                    a quiet, more

reasonable voice

from deep within

reminds me

that all humans

struggle for

meaning and



the room awash

in slightly muted

red, gold, green

the drummer

a beatific Buddha

in a blue t-shirt


                                    however the concepts

                                    of sin and evil

                                    are understood

                                    we all seek the same peace


“Thank you,


Thank you,



as the ceremony continues

other musicians arrive

the door is left open

to encourage the folks

walking down Fillmore Street

to enter


a tall guy in

a blue shirt

takes his turn

blowing sax



late Trane



and I feel my heart

fill with that light again


count at least

five sax players

like angels-in-waiting


by the time the sublime melody

to “A Love Supreme” begins

the room is full


“we’re just trying to get a measure of what’s happening”


many passersby

stop to listen from

the doorway for

at least a few minutes


“If you love Truth, give God a hand, please. We call this the sound exorcism. We try to keep it beautiful, but this ain’t no gin joint. If the horn player starts speakin’ in tongues, we understand. When I went to see John Coltrane, he was like a Pentecostal preacher to me. I know we’re gonna have a good time, because the devil’s been busy all week. If you pat your foot, you’re a part of the band. Don’t clear your throat in here unless you’re ready to praise the Lord.”


deacon came up

in the African Orthodox church

part of the “no middle ground” crew

preaches on Revelations

believes we are in

The Last Days


“Saint John Coltrane was a scientist. Will indicates someone’s intention. Will is modal…. You can’t get sidetracked when you’re dealing with willing something into being…. I didn’t even talk about the All. The All, that’s a lot.  You have to be surefooted. You have to move with purpose and authority.”


the importance of sharing information


Abraham-Hicks: The Vortex

Coltrane Speaks

Newlyweds Christopher and Toni Luna in San Clemente for their honeymoon, August 2015 

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