Friday, January 3, 2020

Jazz Cat (for Bill Prouten)


a true jazz cat can live in the moment
able to duly see
the sweet mauve haze of an unadorned blessing
the fruit of an angel tree

and when he plays he plays like a tiger
a jungle cat slinking wild
and when he plays he moves like a cobra
and laughs like a wayward child

there is no now just a moving abstraction
there is no then or when
there is an is, unfolding in rhythm
in which we are born again

it’s true that some hearts chime to the music 
it’s true that some cats know
and play the pulse of divine recreation

(as above. . . so below)

The Invention of the Saxophone

i don’t know who invented this 
reflexive question mark of an instrument 

but i think it was a good thing 

for it’s great to look at, 
with fat keys like frog eyes 

and a big bell like royal jelly 

you could keep flowers in there if you wanted to, 
extra socks 
or even a clock 

Snakes kink too 
and this sound is snakey 

purply mauve as the deepest bruise 
and raunchy 
as a man in love 

smoked as some cat of the night 
disappearing over a fence 
it makes leaps 

(but only because it has to) 

There is no 
morning saxophone 

this is a sound that 
pulls the shades down 

a hangover 
fading to twilight 
or the blackmost 
belly button 
of the night 

Few can wrap their lips around 
this gooseneck 
without some harm coming to them 
for this is an instrument 
with a long history of 
hollowing out 
all but the most hardy 

Bird flew into a pane 
of glass and was 

we don’t know why it does this to people 
(maybe it was mad at him 
for taking it all to such extremes) 

but how could you blow this thing 

i ask you 

how could you rear back 
in some great pained whiplash of the spine 
without a sense of 
terrible commitment 

i never much cared for 
saxophones myself 
until i heard one blown correctly at last 
jazz is a genre i will never understand 
but perhaps that’s good 
for like the priesthood, one must enter into it 

without question 

or doubt