Arts & Culture » Culture

Listening to Jazz

From Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged
Marick Press
$14.95, 99 pp.

It isn't always such a cool nude as me
who stands there like my father or an older man
with his chest all graying hair,
eyes bulging from high blood pressure,
who nods to the mirror, the veins in my neck
with their own ideas of what jazz to play,
after pulsing too hard from the long run
in the park. My skintight belly shaking,
my penis keeping time to the beat
of Monk and Coltrane playing in the background.
But blood in my veins wants more mouth,
a trumpet to vibrate in darker shouts.
> That mood so blue the rest of my body
will have to take note. Monk plays in jumps
on the piano, the world contained in fingertips
full of tree root knuckles and lightning bolts.
But reality isn't always a rainstorm,
or a man facing cool death in the key
of B flat, after running home
through the rain, his blue eyes peering
deeper at himself, as he waves his tee shirt
at the ghost who smiles sadly back.
Sometimes death wants that slow trumpet,
and as the echo of the bowl
holds it solo, the water disappearing,
I stand there closer to my father than ever,
my underwear on the floor and my pain
balled up into a note, the jumpy piano
matching an aging body muzzled to a heart.

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