|The Landing // Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2014|
On stage is a lion with a fade and oiled slide.
Master of trembling roar, summoning the swelter
with tightly buzzing mouth and drawn cheeks,
playing in the shelter underneath the Coca Cola tent.
The sunken dais at The Landing cradles a diaspora
of Jacksonville polychromatics, a surprise
sector of jazz fanatics in sun hats.
I’m following threads of triplets and flecks of spittle flinging
off of polished brass, remembering returns to silence at the end of class.
I'm held together by the gleaming ligature of a hand me down tenor sax,
but I can’t relax, tapping a pattern I recognize as two octaves of chromatic scale.
Let me set the stage in a tray of formaldehyde so age can’t have its way:
I am still in the practice room next to yours with my face pressed against cool white brick,
catching each of your vibrations like a stolen kiss.
Trying to gather the courage to just ask you
“do you mind if I sit in here and listen? I’ll be quiet…”
A little chunk of maple sugar dances in the center
of a casual crowd, seeking out the magnetized hands of his mother.
A woman in a Hoveround barks at blonde sisters.
I sit alone, entranced.
This conglomerate of culture is church laid out on concrete steps, sipping beer.
The elderly gentleman behind me taps my shoulder. “Yes, baby! Yes.”
I understand. Say no more. Yes.
I am whole when parts of my anatomy become melody,
whole when the music stands in front of me
and my lipid layers liquidate to link with written staves
and arpeggiate: F A C E
I have so many questions
for before the decades pack the horns away.
Are you haunted like me by intervals left unrecorded?
By lyrics long lapsed into the chasmic silence of forgotten?
I dread the death of these refrains the most,
when dreadlocks hop off the A train
with slow and giant steps, fading
from the lead sheets like ghosts.