Friday, July 27, 2007

Bop # Two

Thought I would give it another shot;


When your laughter sparkles and falls
soft as snowflakes, where does it land?
Why does it flitter in a way
I understand easy as my first language?
Still, there’s no manual on how to handle
a smile more musical than a marimba.

Sounds never dissipate, they only recreate in another place.

I pray my tongue will someday taste
the brown vowels of your shoulder,
will learn the pronounciation
of my emotion’s soft consonants.
Everyday, I practice whispering
those seven silver syllables,
trying to say your name
as something other than a prayer.

Sounds never dissipate, they only recreate in another place.

If I hand you my glistening heart,
Would you dance to its beat in the open air?
Some questions radiate like ripples across a pond.
Some splash and collect
like rainwater in a Mason jar
on the windowsill of the heart.

Sounds never dissipate, they only recreate in another place.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bopping in the Key of Me

The piece i wrote for Sekou was my first Bop ever, and it didn't turn out half bad. I enjoyed discovering the form from the inside and think I want to write eleven more, and call them a 'circle of Bops.' One of the key lines to a Bop is the repeating refrain which comes from a song. If anone out there has any lines from lyrics to suggest, I'm open. Van Jordan was here this weekend to read and he said he thinks picking the right song line is the key to writing a successful Bop and I agree. Since the line repeats after every section, it has to be open-ended enough to allow the poem some room to develop. I'll start by harvesting eleven lines and then work from there. Right now I'm thinking about this line from Sara Smile "If you want to be free, you know you can go, all you have to do, is say so" And this one from EWF's 'I Write a Song' "Sounds never dissipate, they only recreate in another place." or Ann Peebles "I can't stand the rain, against my window" or Tavares "Please remember what I told you to forget." or Elton John's "I guess that's why they call it the Blues."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Elegy Indigo

The poet Sekou Sundiata has passed away after suffering two heart attacks. His poem 'Open Heart' from the CD 'Blue Oneness of Dreams' has long been a favorite of mine, both the epigraph and the line 'Finally, finally . . .' are from that piece. We have lost one of our most beautiful voices. Here is a small prayer (in the form of a Bop)


The text for today is early Miles, the Columbia years . . .
That tone pared down to essentials.

Sekou Sundiata

"Did Miles mute his horn, because
a breeze might carry kites a gust could mutilate?"
Call him poet, professor. Call me shaky grasper of the chisel,
caught up in a run-on rush to hammer it all, loudly, now.
The memory rushes in, white-capped and frothing like a wave
but recedes slowly as a blue crab on freshly wet sand,
bright bits of one's life clasped tight in its claws.

Finally, finally, I come to believe in loss as a way of knowing.

How long does it take to hear what the silence is saying?
I stand at a stoplight, waiting for the colors to change.
At forty-five one has to deal with muscles and eyesight fading.
Not just fading like blue from the knees of your favorite jeans
or lights on a stage holding only a now silent microphone,
but fading like a goateed poet in a stingy brim hat
covering the bets of a hooded man with unholy holes for eyes
and the curved blades of scythes where his fingernails should be.

Finally, finally, I come to believe in loss as a way of knowing.

If the Blues is a river, doesn't it both carry in and wash away?
LEDs are replacing halogen and incandescent lamps
and now the headlights of some approaching cars are slightly blue
as his velvet tone joins the voices of all my fallen fathers,
and I tremble, ever so slightly, like a kite in a breeze
or the reed in a Harmon mute during a note's last linger.

Finally, finally . . . I come to believe in loss as a way of knowing.