Thursday, March 15, 2007


In the early ‘60’s, getting hooked on jazz meant involuntarily becoming immersed in an existential mood. I describe that mood--that collage in my mind--this way:
jazz wafting from a smoky club next to an old warehouse…scotch and overcoats…. fedoras and shades on stage….wordless conversations of nods and half smiles…women in satin and spikes-with-straps, soft throaty laughs….in the wee, small hours…. roof tops at 3:00 a.m
melancholy dawn behind the skyline….expensive shoes clacking on deserted sidewalks….and of course, fire escapes in the rain….

In the club that night, waiting for Sarah to start…
Kerouac in cufflinks ambles in; Dylan Thomas is sober and pensive; Marlon Brando in tweed examines the floor; Charlie Mingus is writing verse in the corner; Tennessee Williams just arrives by streetcar; Holden Caufield bores himself and grows silent; Mickey Spillane clutches a perfumed scarf and can’t talk about it.

Shortly after, the upright bass “fumps” a slow walk, and
Soul-brown Sarah in satin rustles softly to the mic.
Brandy-amber lights are dimmed,
Kerouac is mesmerized
Mingus closes his tablet
Dylan orders a double.

Slowly scan the dark, smoky room. See several patrons at their tables: Like the…

Pasty-gray clerk, who wonders why
He never burned from the bones of his passion—
.. the night singer draws you up to her.

Lonely lady, middle-aged forever, whose desperate
daydreams cannot block the encroaching ice –
.. the night singer caresses you in your closed eyes.

The young man, fancy in his spangled vanity
who cannot see above the waist—
.. the night singer offers tenderness.

Giddy hottie, so proud of her sweater stretchers,
mindless in her giggly titty-prance,
.. Sarah offers you grace.

Or, way back in the back, sitting alone: See…
The spent man, slumped with regret,
seeking some salvation in baptismal gin –
.. the night singer offers redemption.

Small-souled man seeks gratification in being missed
longs to be missed….by someone
.. The night singer says you matter.