Monthly Archives: March 2014

Suzhou (2002)


Flying home,

what I left

unsaid saddens me.


The seatbelt sign,

the little chime

with its two notes


In major thirds,

repeated so

the kid ahead


Picks up on them,

and mimicking,

chimes in too.


His little voice

(boo-doo, boo-doo)

keeps on until


From somewhere

it comes to me

where these notes are from:


The opening of Ellington’s     

Creole Love Call,

the gentle clarinet


Trio laying down

a soft bed

for the wordless


Vocal. Funny how

regret can begin

to get so familiar,


Sound so sweet

and mournful. Clouds

full to bursting


Their whites

give over to blue,

and then to grey.


We enter them,

the little hand

on the seat back,


And the major thirds,

lifting, leaving,

forgetting to cry.


Duke Ellington and his Orchestra (1927)




What you can find in a supermarket:

A Charlie Christian solo embedded

In a Benny Goodman tune, embedded

in the muzak.The I Ching supposedly

composed by a King Wen

in the 12th Century BC

between a diet book and

How to Talk to Your Cat.

A small purple bottle-stopper

somehow mixed up with your change.

We are all archeologists here,

wheeling our shopping carts

We are all piecing together the shards.

And out in the parking lot

Immersed in a sea of vehicles,

a woman is picking rosehips from

a bush in a concrete box.

To no one particular she says,

“Good for tea, you know, good for colds”


The Benny Goodman Sextet featuring Charlie Christian (1939)