Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jazz Poetry: Reflections of a Side Man

From the wonderful Chicago poet Nina Corwin:

Reflections of a Side Man

- for Tom Harrell

Where do you go?

Where do you go when you swing

that solo none too sane?

That flugelhorn makes notes fall like rain

those sweet contortions descending

from the brain

of a Mad Hatter of sorts,

so far beyond mending.

Where do you go?

Over misbegotten rainbows

where few can follow,

turning figures so fantastic

when you blow they seem to just

float in from Never Never Land,

fingers flying to beat the band

as you head off stratospheric

on circuitous routes

that take you through riffs

nearly missing the mark.

Hear you coaxing those quirks

as if they were the song

Where do you go?

You've been out there so long

I could swear you were playing to Satan's changes

there for a measure or two.

Like the melody took a wrong turn

or stumbled through the rubble

of some twilight zone of deconstruction.

Where do you go

when you blow that solo none too sane?

Is that tune you hear

a roadmap of your brain?

Do you follow some cynical piper

to the lip of the moon?

And when your solo

swings an orbit so elliptical

it might never get back

to the starting refrain,

where do you go?

But we'll keep the beat for you, brother

like a landing pad

those sweet same changes

till they bring you home.

Like the way your momma sang

those lilting lullaby's

to a bedtime sky.

And listen: for the honeymoon in the chorus

where melody and baseline coincide

till they mingle with the cymbals

in the rhythm of a hellified coitus.

Where do you go?

I want to hear what you hear,

trumpet player,

see what you see.

Can you take me with you, Mad Hatter,

can I bring you on home?