GALLERY (IN) CONCERT

Kandinsky, Braque, Matisse and Degas
all stand patiently in the hall
wondering if anyone, this night,
will notice them as they always
seem to do, while Motherwell and Pollack
lurk around the corner, feigning
indifference, dreading being ignored.
The sound check is long ago complete
and the three men sit in the cafe
lost in the crowd, sipping wine,
a beer, a soda as the last of the meals
are consumed and people file out
and up the stairs to the auditorium.
Picasso stares up in wonder
as the piano comes to life,
carrying us all on a wave
that undulates across the strings.
The bassist crosses the bridge,
darts back, and we stare slack-jawed
as his fingers defy our eyes
and expectations. The drummer
brushes off our questions and solos,
content to carry the music
lightly in his hands as Calder
is left to twist gently in the breeze.

MILES FROM HERE

Some say Miles said

it’s the space

between the notes –
that’s where the music is.
We heard him, we smiled,
we anticipated the next
note and the next.
Outside my window
a blue jay
recites his morning prayer,
the child’s laugh
breaks the frozen sky
and shivers the maple.
Then all is silence –
even the wind
holds its breath
not in anticipation
but to create the void
that nature craves.
If we allow ourselves
in, Miles blows
the song of God
one
note
at
a
time.

BUENOS AIRES ON THE GENESEE

If this were Buenos Aires, if I were Borges, it would all make a great deal of sense.  A man, older, and older still if you look closely, walks into an elegant hotel bar.  A jazz quintet is playing, straight up, trumpet, piano, guitar, stand up bass, drum kit.  The older man is wearing white tennis shorts from a prior century.  They are baggy legged and would be too short for a much younger man.  He wears a dark afro wig.  He makes no pretense that it is his hair, or that it is even real hair.  He stands in a corner with his wife, intently watching the musicians.  Others in the lounge and bar steal sidelong glances at him.  He wears white athletic socks, white tennis shoes.  He has on an oversized light blue sweatshirt. It is all quite logical.  I am not Borges, this is not Buenos Aires.  It is October, autumn has announced itself and taken hold.  It is Rochester and winter lies in waiting.  You can occasionally feel its bated icy breath.  The older man does not drink.  The band’s set ends.  The older man and his wife walk out of the hotel into a lake chilled night.