Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Three or Four Shades of Blues"

I feel so lucky to own a signed copy of this chapbook. It's a wonderful read, and one of the best chaps published by State Street Press (in 1992!). Here's a sample poem:

Three or Four Shades of Blues

These days in Europe no one is safe.
The terrorist who works at the newsstand
will tell you his country’s government
is like a jazz band that improvises badly
and too often. His accomplice will say
the Prado museum is not a good shelter:
if someone walks in with a saxophone full
of explosives, Guernica will burn again.
He has figured out what it will take
to blow up the canvas, to bring down
every building in Madrid. The streets
will swallow you like night rain.
These days the European rain falls
through the roofs of the jazz clubs,
but no one seems to notice: no one leaves
before the last note of Cryin’ Blues is
dead and the last wine glass is broken.
Then they all go out for walks, thinking
that the streets are only streets. They
pass the museum and make plans to go in
someday. A woman says she’s well acquainted
with an architect who assures her that
those walls will outlive every jazz musician
in the continent. One of them overhears
this and says he’s not convinced.
He wants to hock his five trombones and
move to Mexico before the next night rain.

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