The dominant leads to the tonic. One other thing,
can’t think of its name, galumphs over the mountain
of sound. `
South Africa, Canada, the United States
–Canucks caught between apartheid and tea-bagging–
invent a phoenix to go up and down two thousand forty
feet endlessly until the thirty-three are on earth’s surface
seventy days after the exits up and out were gone forever.
It’s always night where it’s hot all day and cold in the dark.
The old ways out are forever blocked by the fall of rock
and shale, as though the slag heap on top wound up below
Chile. Elsewhere, Bessie Smith sings in my sleep, strokes
me down there: I’ve been a good old wagon
but I done broke down.
I knew this kid who thought
he looked like James Dean wearing his waist-length red jacket
and played like Monk dancing in syncopation, how’s that go?
No one ever ends like Rubenstein, the keys all black are white
when the bland abrasions follow a fall from the topheavy cane.
Looked like an old white man wearing his skin inside out for keeps.
Who kept track? Yesterday a lover, today beloved, tomorrow
to be sung over with the dominant leading to the tonic.
playing Rebel without a Cause, of course. He drove a squat,
square car imagining LeMans, Mille Miglia, Monaco, and slid
into corners turning over and laughing climbed out lifting it up
from lying on its side to all four wheels only to veer off a cliff,
Jimmy Stark at large and in space, out of control but happy
enough to grow a mustache and go on to the final performance,
Jett Rink with eyes for Liz Taylor, walking off what others pace
to measure how much land a man needs much less a penniless
Texan, opprobrium’s elite, the midget in a desert full of giant
van Cliburns running the scales but still averring new sound
set to music: Live like a lion, proposed the Marquis de Portago
in his Formula 1 as it found a space leading from living to dying
but not in between. In the quotidian world, only normal survives
but what’s that? What’s what? And why not go on galumphing?
Improvise, improvise! Take it up as high as it goes: jazz ending:
He sails off to live out the day in the Caribbean. Night comes.
(13 October 2010)