New York City skyline at night


Spring 2013



C. L. Dallat


As the scullery looms sharp green,
lime, Thai red and the must
of Mussorgsky's Pictures …
he sees why he can't, won't, pay
for a gallery's audio-guide,
knows before he mastered
the black—never mind blue—
notes of Mood Indigo, Heliotrope
before he could stagger
a chromatic glissando or work
the changes back from A-7th
to F on a lacquered alto
he'd lived every accidental and riff
from Blind Lemon through to Red Nichols
via monochrome portraits in Orrin
Keepnews' Pictorial History
of Jazz:
Bix in a tux, Bechet's
enormous beam, Paul Whiteman's
wing-collar Gershwin battalions;
right back to an open-neck State-Pen
half-tone silver-nitrate mug-shot
and the dobro, bottle-choked whine
of the last of those slow, slipping
preternaturally agéd and sightless
rail-crossing soul-trader slidemen.



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