. . . and sometimes no matter how hard I work nothing comes to mind
but the empty river bed I stumbled up last week just before the rain
and no matter what chord is called for in the rules of proper conversation
my boots stumble over rocks worn smooth by spring-thawed granites
of scrambled scree
broken sharp from ice
then minor lifts to major and F breaks its back on D
and where the small pebbles of earlier storms have filtered to the top
words begin to take up the spaces left between
and then roll over one another as I stumble forward caught off balance
by the changing under-beat
that’s scaling sound
and someone hollers out behind, “How long did it take you to write this?”
and I laugh out loud that what you call art I call life
and the second set begins . . .


“Charlie Parker, Metronome All Stars, NY” photographed by Herman Leonard in 1949