Anyone who knows me knows I love music–from old school to new school. I love anything that has great lyrics and something to say, excellent vocal and musical arrangement, artistry, word play and interesting word choice–and sometimes I’m just another simpleton satisfied with a good beat. But this poem is about the great jazz or a great era. It’s also about Mr. Perfect.
Not too long after Mr. P. and I started dating– which was whirlwind thing, sort of; we connected and clicked as if we had been deep in friendship our whole lives–he had a birthday. He had gotten me a very nice Christmas gift and included this really beautiful card the month before, and I hadn’t gotten him anything. I wasn’t expecting to get anything, as we had just started “talking” as the kids said when I was a kid. Anyway, I wanted to do something special for his birthday, and I bought him a gift and wasn’t happy with it. I couldn’t find a card to say what I wanted, either. Then I thought “wait; I write stuff!” I knew he liked jazz, so I made him a jazz CD and included this poem. It sucks. Enjoy!
When you listen to the saxophone
Wailing and moaning its sad siren song
And Sara’s voice blows smoke rings,
Don’t go proposing with them.
When the piano keys unlock
Just the right note to fit between
Left ear and right
And Ella’s voice spins blankets that
Block out the chill of night,
Remain upright; your knees will want to bend—
It melts something in me too.
If you listen closely to
That space in between
Ella’s weaving, Sara’s voice smoking,
And pay attention when the saxophones
Snivel instead of wail and the strings
Are taunt with waiting, then
That intake of breath you hear,
The pulsing you feel around you, that
Crushing, pressing in of everything vital inside you—
Is that you, me, or the music?
Has anticipation choked you with song,
Or is the hope suffocating you?
I tried to find the kind
Of card that said how I felt
That could hold my heart
Heavy with its ponderings,
One marked “Fragile” “Handle with Care”—
They don’t sell cautious hope at Hallmark.
Maybe you needed to hear me say it.
Don’t let the music melt you or mold you.
Don’t let it cradle you; don’t trust it.
Search it; it’s hiding
*See, this wasn’t as in your face as the last poem.