Archives for posts with tag: Piano Poets

When you take the A train, be sure to tip the conductor.
Hear that? … a song of the caravanserai drifts in from the desert —
listen how the front row, all brass and horn, the back row
rhythm and bass, are nothing but the keyboard beneath
that plays in a sentimental mood as if that hue of indigo
can be summoned just like that. Sophisticated, lady
he laid the foundation of cool and made modern new,
like it was just before a kiss, the very first time.

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“Humbly, I am the river.”

Counterpoint doesn’t cover it,
unless you rag, spackle, boogie it
with the barrel roll, classical riff
set free, dodge right, dodge left,
Mayor of Dodge City, all 88 citizens.

Always, the spring of life is melody.
You return from your extended tour
to show us the rag and the bone,
ebony and ivory, the house and
how you make it a home —where the
music is built, how you make it
into a jazz, more than jazz, the jazz;
others named it — you proclaimed it.

The music is haunted;
the man is haunted;
the poem is haunted;

listen, you can hear it.

He heard the music of poetry and became the first poet of sound
to shatter the rigid musical illusions that surrounded him.
He said his religion was “natural” — others would label him wild,
without boundaries, both personal and musical.

This is the third poem about Achille-Claude Debussy.
The first two lost—the first by accident, the second by design.
To reach the soul of this music, the melody of the poem
must be haunted by that which is beyond grasp … .

His friends damned him,
his spurned lovers,
L’Académie des Beaux-Arts.

From the start he rebelled—no one would teach him
as he did not need to be taught. Instead, he would teach
the world new music, a new poetry of sound.

The professors at the L’Académie tried to block his admittance,
naming his music “bizarre.” It “courted the unusual”—savage,
against all accepted reason and rule.

No one could ignore his brilliance.

Object of censure, celebrity, scandal, first rock star,
anti-messiah, end of civilization and all that. Through it all
the shattering of the common place, the predictable
comfortable harmonies everyone was used to. Not this music
that played as if it were creating itself—and you, anew.

The shattering and the shattered. I think of Debussy
and ask myself, how can I create again?

If the poem is lost, I must
break it, shatter it, anew. If I cannot find the words,
I must surrender my ideas of right and wrong, if I cannot sing,
then I must sing what is missing, what does not belong,

find that chromatic moment that reveals its meaning
not in consideration, or contemplation of its utterance,
but by its wild hollow howl that fails to finish … that
dares you to complete what is nearly a perfect moment.

 

<This poem ends my seventh book, Numbers & Piano>

the only man who could drawl on a piano
slur of the hands across the keys and presto
women weak at the knees

somebody help me please

‘cause I got nothing, No, nothing
except this easy playing rain
got to be travelling, woah, travelling
‘til I play away this pain

come Monday morning
still playing the same
hands running, rippling
I’m goin’ to rip the rhythm from this frame

still I got to travel
just to pay, woa-oo-ohoh-woaww-oh
another moment’s heart beat—
on this keyboard of mine

mmm hmmm

vibraphonic ecstasy
limit of harmony
pound on the upholstery
remind me you know
what of ebony and ivory
essential time of the stream
ineluctably, serenely, meanly
map the motion of bop a wopwop shoobop
insolently, insouicantly, hip-cat-o-
doh-ray-mah, Mr. Jam for me
where does the bop in shoowop go
after the show s’what I want to know—
what I got to know this cat explains patiently
disappears behind his curtained smile
signs Mysterioso.

Oh, so, you’re jiving me.
I knew that.
s’Cool.

someone to be proud of
someone who makes you proud to be around a piano
a round of piano that walks you through it
walks you through it, runs you through it,
takes you through the work out and out to its beyond
someone who makes you proud to be part of it, someone
defining deifying dynamic breakers of infinite
rhythm, geometry, bowling the spheres across the Platonic
ideal of perfect lawn framed by formal marbles
arches, fountains, artfully built grottoes and caprices
transports you to the meaning of the new land
someone to be proud of, someone who makes you proud

name your river
I’ve played it

When you take the A train, be sure to tip the conductor.
Hear that? … a song of the caravanserai drifts in from the desert —
listen how the front row, all brass and horn, the back row
rhythm and bass, are nothing but the keyboard beneath
that plays in a sentimental mood as if that hue of indigo
can be summoned just like that. Sophisticated, lady
he laid the foundation of cool and made modern new,
like it was just before a kiss, the very first time.

“Humbly, I am the river.”

Counterpoint doesn’t cover it,
unless you rag, spackle, boogie it
with the barrel roll, classical riff,
set free, dodge right, dodge left,
Mayor of Dodge City, all 88 citizens.

Always, the spring of life is melody.
You return from your extended tour
to show us the rag and the bone,
ebony and ivory, the house and
how you make it a home —where the
music is built, how you make it
into a jazz, more than jazz, the jazz;
others named it — you proclaimed it.

this ladder, this stair before us
invites us to rise, not climb,
fly, not allow Fate, fury, nature
make our feet drag, instead
we march, dance, rejoice that
we can see into things

the storm’s name is Ludwig and he
makes the world anew again, greater, brighter,
more passionate for he cannot stop arising

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