Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Remember Poetry

I finally downloaded some of my old poems. Many of these are from college. Others are later add-ons. Most of them are really terrible. They all lack a point. None has any tension or real linguistic art. I suppose I can take some comfort in my ability at least to recognize this.

I kind of like one poem I wrote about
What music is –
this unordinary gift that emerges,
streams start and stops
piano figures here
double-bass comments there
the drummer with sticks and brushes
splashes not rhythm but idea.

It all mixes
but not, never, perfectly
it evokes, evolves, teases, grates,
always moving in motion –
now scales, [lift, lift; dip, dip]
then cymbal taps, [pit-tit-tit, pit-tit-tit, pit-tit-tit]
soon color. [ --- ]

The spontaneous dance continues,
improvisers translate and create the abstract terrain,
ungracefully around
more than beautiful
more than beauty
more than beats
less than tick tocks
less than universal
less than unique.

This music
as life:
its detail
simple moments unrepeatable
the players
changes –
I surround myself in it
and always am an honest person.
What I like is that it's a "smart" poem, but not too smart. Essentially, it tries both to describe the music and the experience of hearing it being played. I remember writing this poem while listening to the Keith Jarrett trio's free jazz album (one of them, anyway). In the poem, I wanted to capture the daring of the music, the blind steps the players take. Well, it's not so much blind; they see a few steps ahead, but they don't necessarily know to where they are being led. Yet they go there willingly and boldly. As a listener, I am thrilled by not knowing where they are going or how they will get there. I found that thrill and that ignorance as profoundly true, as a leveler of dishonesty.

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