Published in Slow Trains, 2008
Listen to the silver crisping of my brushes
Can you hear them-lisping-on the edge of my snare?
Orchestras can wait. I
the ride and the upright.
That silver flitting is crisper
than that old clothesline wrapped
around that old pecan tree
in grandmother’s backyard.
My cousin marveled
at how tight that clothesline remained
but my cousin
never made it to one of my jazz gigs.
And when there is Tchaikovsky,
I don’t make it to one of my jazz gigs.
Those grey wiry wands sometimes yield
to shiny green xylophone mallets.
But that clothesline-torque tight-creeps into vision.
They tell you to keep your fingers loose
on those brushes,
and with sticks,
to spray rolls across those toms
as lightly as napalm over Nixon. (Oops)
There’s at least one jazz drummer that votes conservative
I really don’t always know how to choose between the two.