Disassembled Parts of a Bass Clarinet
I. Aerophone. Overblow. Grenadilla. Cylindrical bore. Sassafras. Contrabass. Orange tiger. Roar. Harry Carney. Half-hole. Bitches Brew. Resin. Cousin Mary. Eric Dolphy. Grapefruit stew. Rosin. Neither a dry sound, nor the white ricepaper mask, But, swallowing the moon, the notes drink like grapes. The Newark photographer says that when he was a kid, There were 12 or 13 movie theaters downtown. Now, only a tiny porn theatre, a spit’s distance from the Museum, Shows octaves of skin. Part of the lip stretches behind the knee, Smooth as a Mercury reissue, and the precipice, glistening Like a roll’s glaze, has been pushed up and down across Sarah Vaughan’s orgasmic “Uh” noise at 2:35 in “Body and Soul.” The Dogon wear purple fringes, and their pearl millet Sing vessels of donkeys bearing caryatids, like the sandstone Bandiagara all rectilinear with masks secured by the teeth. Four flutes roll off their center; the cake’s filling, plastered (Not a sigh, exactly longer) are references to barbecued peaches. White and red altars catch clouds…is that what Braxton means? I shook hands with Elvin Jones, and with Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris. The cavernous filaments of the downtown room, like a limb Soaking in a barrel. An article said: The amount of female granaries Is an indication for the amount of women living in the guinna. Little Richard, with his nougat-like pomade, yelled the girl can’t help it. Coltrane, likewise, said whatever he’d say about Eric Dolphy Would be understatement. Newark’s dry-rot and magnesium Flares show litter, and the bare branches of a maple. Some looters Return with armfuls of candy, Kool-Aid, and water guns. The late photo of Sarah Vaughan shows black triangles Arranged like a batman villainess. Years ago her carefree loafers And red Parisian mime stripes swung easy. The liner notes reveal “That she could have succeeded in the classical field.” Wayne Shorter would say 'What’s happenin'?' and she’d say 'Newark,' And that was enough, ‘cause you know what Newark does to people. Mel Torme reports that she got kind of huffy when he said “operatic” And then she said “Do you mean jazz isn’t legit?” You might say that powders are being crushed in the mortar, Where some of the purple splays like limbs, the embracing limbs. For a while poetry did not interest me, with its flailing, Corruption, boredom, obsequiousness, and general green color. It was a cloak used for taunting by everyone, assholes all. Flaubert thought the same thing about the bourgeoisie. Nothing is ever the same as they said it was. Blue lights of her hair, vertical, the gray pearls of her neck, Delightful, to the place—better or worse—where eyes penetrate. Bare forks, glitter swan glasses, hiding among the bushes. Sort of feeling your way. Arbus said, the hand is the cutting Edge of the mind. Flawed animals. Meat and buns and slaw. She sort of lifted up her hips so the rims of the bones Were elevated, a sort of handsclasp, of “braided chestnut” Then, a wordless moan, like the pink tent you traverse— Rather than nonvocal to the bone, she pulled his shoulders Forward, hovering. During rehearsal the wordless word was loosely Creased, where the lowest part of the hip is hooked to the curve. Roland Kirk’s “No Tonic Pres” has a double meaning: The first note in the scale and the double gin Lester Young Was drinking without quinine water, circumference of lemon Like the brim of the hat, blooming into focus in Gjon Mili’s film. I gathered dry kindling on the snowy mountain slope, White were the branches gathered in my hand. Wood has dropped its pieces, with trees along the way, Where the couple walks the trail inside the creamy sand. The bassist said the action on the bass was high, Vertically so, so that the elastic boom made for instant decay. Threadgill says tubas can control the decay and attack. Tubas blend with everything, whereas the bass doesn’t blend. Brass will cut through anything. You have to wait on the bass. A tuba player, he says, can shut it down, ‘cause it’s wind. The bass player said during a long jam, he never Gets a break. The glass of Pepsi has water already Dripping down the side of the glass. From the ice Skating in the armful of warm air. A woman bends To pat a multi-striped cat, liquid grey, who prances Between the aisles, listless and revolting with mystery. She loves the horrendous creature, whose eyes glow Yellow like a vial of Pernod. Its tail upright Plucking an e-minor because the story has become More complicated than when we left the house. Miles played in Tokyo and then Berlin, former Scorched sectors alighted in the terror-bots’ scopes. In Tokyo on March 9, 1945 we (Americans) burned to death 100,000 people in a single night; men, women, children. On July 14, 1964, Sam Rivers channeled T-Bone Walker Among the velvet echoes at Kohseinenkin Hall. The Dogon say that we should remember: God has no external ears. She cups her hands. Babies are like water flowers who devour The cool leaves from the tubs of their eyes. Our ways of living differ. II. Think of swagger’s on-off switch. Weldon Irvine said: Many of the young rappers Got disconnected from a tradition of protest And decided to rap about mayhem In order to get paid. You can tell the political Orientation of the bus driver by whether He says “Lenox Avenue” or “Malcolm X Boulevard” when he announces the stop. The large blue and white wheels slap The painted curb, covered with slush. November ’80. I walk to school Not knowing how to play with. I decided, not unlike John Gilmore At Birdland 1956, to play contra. We play against everything, In the blaze of a hearth. We got the concept. We got The concept. We got conceptual. I am on East 80th Street. The whir Of pigeons have delicate lavender Pockets around their eyes. They ground themselves and a spring Of city dust is a pillowy aplomb Among the air’s granules. Of a city, and its puzzle pieces Many-tongued, embraceable. Two men are dancing in a bar. It’s 11:30 according to the wall’s Cold Aged “Genesee Beer” clock. They are dressed in 1980 styles: velour And floppy, existential caps. The shadows Of the men’s bodies are cast On the jukebox behind and their joy. What do you know about the forgotten ones? Try to understand the beautiful bodies, Peeling paint, and upturned peaches From a Marxist perspective. Why this city Detritus, denotations and detonations? Why the snail shell, uncomfortable water, The caramel tone of Sarah Vaughan And the air is punctuated by wings? Instead of limbs, wings slice through At 80 degrees, assaulting through The sky’s catapult, salted & polychrome. I would like to be away from 1980 For a while, and see its chemical pinks Dripping from the unfeeling dinosaur Eye of the iridescent pigeons, Another time, from above or below. I will not take my father’s footsteps. A miner’s helmet with its bulb Peers through the tack and driftwood. Around a wall, the light bounces On a mirror with its white cotton. You are encased in the city’s Steel tub. Washboard, scrap, Empty grape drink bottle. Frail, fall, literal. Burnished. Do you feel the calm Chewing the marrow From the gains the city has made? III. A halved city moves along the mouth of a canal. You are living inside its corridors, breathing the air shaft’s smell of a fishbone. Your limbs reach across the threshold, down the hallway of metal doors. It is that multihued avenue that comes at the park’s edge after a mollusk’s snowdrift away from the window mottled jamb’s coded, inconceivable rust, the pigeons’ peppery throats blush like sorcerers bending the tab rings of their cans, and all echoes. It is not only pushers and gathering places, storefront churches, crates of apples. We should not be east of the park, but no one knows we’re here, if it is the Paradise or the Omni swaying along the velvet curtain of the sky. Beyond the rooftops, I see the families create a father’s day picnic out of a card table, boombox, a ginger ale, boxes of chicken, a dominoes game clamped to a dude’s lecture. I would run from the 125th Street station down the sustained line of the sidewalk, and wait for the elevator that stops to raise its pulley and flywheel and drop my trapezoid body, and race to the apartment to caress your hair, or to let up or simply hold on. It is a familiar curvature. The place is a valley, the cathedral’s east. The same streets reach out in the same places, to open the same mirrored lobbies. We arrive at the place where the wife relaxes and folds her legs on the floor in conjecture at all the sidewalks traversed. She has me, a partner who knows that her memories are bubbles, that we see a farfetched capital lift, and break through tenements and wish like a creed, we would travel along riffs and octaves, to hear the doorbells and bird coos or feel the extraordinary orange of the Florida sun, a woman clutching an orange pill bottle, and we go along the snakelike namesakes and the keratin hooves of the city can always relieve us, we have people sitting around understanding the bubbles’ gloss anywhere the fragile, numb inheritances answer the launching terrors her axes and closet doors she remembers we will burst them all along.