Monday, May 11, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits 12 MAY 05




MUSIC LESSONS

My stuffed panda,
nicknamed Pythagoras,
sang to me until I was ten.
Then I heard the bike sprocket
of logic rip up
the pants leg of his song.
The logic of adolescence
is the long blue ache
for adulthood.
I blew adolescence
like bubbles from a trumpet's bell.
From my Middle School hallway,
music class beckoned.
Pythagoras sang music
as a sacred form of math,
neon numbers raised to the highest power.
All my school trumpet desired
was to be carried home
to our housing project
in a case with a velvet lining,
a conical mute.
Why do clouds get to play with
such vast velvet Blues in the background?
The mute desired to teach me
how to moan in public,
but I took up the trumpet
as a budding oral essayist.
Or to replace what Pythagoras sang.
My mouth became a bed
for the mute to dream in.
I did not dream of god
the way I dreamt that
minor chords wore hard hats
with tiny beaming lights.
I still recall the whole notes
of my eyeballs
filling with blinding light,
a bright blare
not unlike a horn,
whose body became
a balm for my adolescent fingers,
even when they couldn't
bear such brassiness.
And Miles above —
clouds were hoarse whispers
galloping from god's muted mouth.
I knew the needles of a pine
and the needles of a phonograph
could both sew song into spinning air
but didn't make the same scents.
There was scented oil
glistening the trumpet's valves.
Inside its coiled body,
a half note curling towards the open bell,
wet, rhythmic breath
buzzing into the late afternoon
with the lilt of eyeballs filling with light.
Why do we say "late afternoon"
like it showed up drunk and disheveled
hours after it was due?
Or worse, as if it recently died?
Logicians think death
has no logic, but
the logic of death
is the long blue ache for life.
My boy T claims
the truest thing about music is this:
a poem can be a useful essay,
but an essay is a useless ass poem.
I know breath collects inside a horn
the way dew collects on curling leaves.
But who collects the shavings
of quarter notes that curl
around a trumpeter's feet?
I wasn't old enough to shave,
not even seconds off the time
it took to sprint for the schoolbus.
I left my school trumpet
on the bus several times,
but it never held it against me.
Maybe I only took up
the trumpet so I could hold
Latricia Taylor against me
and collect her curling breath
in the bowl of my collar bone.
Miles above, clouds were hoarse whispers,
curling fog from god's frozen nostrils.
After I got my front tooth knocked out
I tried to play the trumpet,
but my band teacher claimed it
impossible as a one armed man
playing a violin.
I can still read the notes curling
across sheet music as easily as a grocery list,
but never learned to play by ear.
Like a man who can read French newspapers
but not comprehend the frank whispers
of the woman he desires.
Desire is a housing project
in a former French City
famous for its trumpet players.
I've truly never lived in that city,
but since my first tryst with the trumpet
the long blue logic is this;
we're all born and razed
in our red brick projects of Desire.

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)
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