Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ode On Jazz


Physical beauty, Formal Rigor of God—
spiritual beauty, Economy of God—
Natural Will, Transcendent Will,
Facile Will in all its’ dismal “there-ness”—

Piano broken chords breaking down space
like watching bits of paper collect,
contained in a 12-bar blues; root
notes you tend to lean on,
or maybe a honking minor third,
a harmonic multi-colored sharp…

Follow your compulsion into flurries,
clusters of connecting phrases,
then a pause to sanctify as the progression
resolves after lingering on the fifth
for the appointed time—
pentatonics mainly w/ some suspensions,
sheets of sound, there it is...trademark leaps
only found in Coltrane,
like watching a rainbow erupt
out of the placid bowels of street-lakes,
sparrows in the gutters,
Eliot-esque alienation syncopated
impossibly high & mighty…

Repeat the repetition now into major scale—
Ionian gold, major-third suspensions again,
almost midnight for tremulous trees,
also hipsters, flights of birds, rabbis
in the wilderness as blues ends; here’s a quicker
quirkier jarring bit to cut
your teeth on…

Base bottom notes natural like ferns,
ride the ride cymbal like musical fellatio,
roll w/ rolls & kick-drum ejaculations,
what Hart Crane heard in bridges,
only blues (so bridge seldom comes),
stasis achieved nicely replicates movements,
bowel, kidney, heart-beat, daring snare of lip-ness,
thickness, quickness,
get it all out for all of us into the brick-laden city,
mutter of exhausted midnight buses
as vibrato notes shiver, miniature
solos on the toms creates energy
of emptiness among the weird abundance,
concluding w/ roll on the snare, now bass
also investigates metaphysical space,
not so much implacable as inexhaustible
eruptions; spring of autumn,
autumn of spring…

Seasons of balance, compromise,
away from extremes; Middle Path exteriorized,
oh piano on a minor seventh which bespeaks
longing for a more ethereal world,
elegiac as the last apple of October, eaten
by a Halloween camp-fire, beyond blues
of Earth into cadence, dying fall of pure moon,
ravaged, torn from the throat of persistence,
mute existence destroyed completely
and on fire, a universe of fingers & mouths,
looking down the tide of Death into eternity,
square-shouldered & erect,
freezing into whims of Ultimate “there-ness”,
beyond ordinary notions of quotidian abyss
in one long sitting pow-wow peace-pipe corn-cob
wholesome dinner of Voidness,
but insinuated only to drive away singularity….

Jazz is plural,
they give you a space, show you its’ contours,
allow you to move around & drown
if you want over hilltops of remorse, created
by Love or dolorous longing & especially
Central Parks of the soul & intellectual Bordello
life cut & pasting its’ bleak outline over rooftops
& bluebirds


Friday, June 15, 2018

Side-Armed


She said, undressing, to love is to be
an orphan hiding from a hurricane in
a church made of glass. Impractical, I
said, & I don't like metaphors in bed
anymore, in my old age, any more than I
like spiders. Then, as we made love, she
said, you're an orphan, hiding from a hurricane.
Oh, I said, are you a church made of glass?
Well, she said, I'm a little cracked, aren't I?
Outside, cars slithered by, oblivious, exhaust
fumes tingeing human summer air. You're
cracked alright, & so is your sister, I said,
baiting her to collapse onto my chest,
throwing stones from my glass church, side-armed-

Friday, June 8, 2018

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Tara


The dirge droned over the dimly lit dance
floor, "Stop Me If You've Heard This One
Before," & Tara, a bowl-headed red-head from
Jersey, heaved against me. Tara shouldered
suburban Jersey around with her like a sprained
ankle; tall tales of potential husbands, other
familial engagements. She sought ins with us;
we always said yes; yet we bled something
out of her, blocked her moves. Mike Land,
who (oddly) was no dancer, drank our grungy
group under the table, in a short-lived joint
off of Rittenhouse Square- Tara made a
gesture to her girlfriend to step outside. "It's
a conspiracy," I kidded Mike, "bring on the shots."

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Walkin' On Down the Hall


As of almost June, and the new Otoliths page, along with the two 2017 Otoliths pages, I've reached a moment of reckoning concerning the manuscript I'm working on called Something Solid. The manuscript, as it subsists now, is comprised of three sections: the first covers the Nineties, the second, the swingin' Aughts, and the third are miscellaneous poems that cover a range of times and themes. Most of the poems are, or could be called, sonnets; and yet they have so little in common with traditional sonnets and sonnet writing that they might just as well be called fourteen line poems. I don't honor sestet and octave conventions; the volta may happen at any time in the poem; and, most importantly, an impulse is honored in the Something Solid poems which has nothing to do with lyricism, and more to do with a hard-bitten, earthy, empirical devotion to the darker side of human life and truth. The poems are not "little songs," they're glass shards. And the next step is a fourth section I am planning but haven't written yet. I want it to cohere around a central theme, an event, individual or time-period, and harness the rest of the book's energy into a burning, laser-like focus on...we'll see what later.