Monday, February 11, 2013

Words for Art Pepper

I batten down the Christmas lights
with Sonnys Rollins, Stitt and Criss
as the new snow weaves its jones of mad diagonals
like a bell tree wind of hi-hats,
Philly Joe from the one speaker,
Elvin from the other…
never stopping–so ephemeral,
the lyrical answer to the world
still it accumulates
like the resin in Sir Desmond’s horn
prophesying furious blowing of cool later on,
a gaining train of insane pain waxwaning its refrain
lain slain as frozen rain
without explaining–immortal.
The birds are quiet now, awaiting Charlie Parker
to play with time and space and prove
there is no universe to speak of.
They hide, for the snow is too immaculate
heroin white, but there is space
in this alicecoltraneinwonderland place
enough to hear the bass…walking.

And there was once a song about you, too,
how beautiful and blue you were,
and the melody lingers
in tangled skeins
of minor modal realms
hopping to your love
or is it to the comfort of
its hot stove
and the pathos of retreating?
Such questions need no answers now,
for the players from the cellars
milk the prosodies of funk
in my Grant Green room, Greenwich
mean time, born to be a perhapsody in blue.
The thrush she cackles so ecstatic
that the thrill is gone
she won’t feign that diamond jive
of grieving how he got away
in some Pacific car wreck sunrise Ferrari
trying to make it real compared to Watts,
for she still has her pearl
and everything else is lost
to hold to that.

When we go deep inside
where no one ever finds us
what they never get to know is
we have the blues
and no one can take that from us,
not even the bright light
streaming through the yellow linens
promising the night will come.
A sad politesse pervades the air,
rich melodies are coaxing,
always coaxing the blues,
to civilize it,
waving the red flag at the bull
but stepping back
at the last second
to be wordless and to bless it
and never stab it
for all its
ferocity,
its righteous thirst for outrage and then revenge.

There is only beauty here
on this vine.
No truth can live this high.

3 comments:

Hannah Stephenson said...

That ending!

You do long poems very well...there's always such momentum going.

The snowy blues...

the walking man said...

I would never bait the blues man. That is messing with the bull and them horns look like they could hurt a foolish man.

Jack said...

Not to be obvious, or typical, but this line is so great:

"gaining train of insane pain waxwaning its refrain lain slain as frozen rain without explaining–immortal"

Also, the line about "pathos of retreating" sent me to study a bit on Modes of Persuasion.

(previous comment removed for a typo)