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.
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