The Gig

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November 9, 2012 at 8:23 am  •  Posted in Poetry by  •  0 Comments

Jazz trumpet player at the gig (poem)More than just a string of words to be read on the page, poems are an auditory experience.

To really understand what a poem means, you have to hear the sounds of the words, the way they interact, and how they dance through the air to meet your ears.

If you want to know what I mean, go to a poetry slam sometime. You’ll feel like you’re at a jazz club … each poet steps onto the stage, front and center, with the spotlights burning bright, ready to make the words sing and soar … ready to make music.

The Gig

So many notes
squeezed into
your
horn
they
fly
by
so
fast
you
can
hard
ly
catch
hold
be
fore
you
lose
them
in
the
wind.

Breathless,
you suck,
slowly suck
air through your nose.
suck man,
suck.

You set your chops again to squeeze
so many notes
into
your
horn
that
they
fly
by
so
fast
you
can
hard
ly
catch
hold
be
fore
you
lose …

then this dark cat, real smooth
with dark glasses, real fine,
with dark beret and dark goatee
steals
 .    your air
steals
 .    your notes
steals
 .    your gig.

He blows so
.     s    l    o    w    l    y,
blows one solid note
.     into his
.          horn.

That one note
.     fills his horn.
That one note
.               has room to move,
.                          room to grow.
.                                   room to live.

That cat blows
.          his horn,
.                    blows
.                              his note,
.                                        blows you
.                                                                             away.


Poem: The Gig © 2013 by Shawn Radcliffe

Photo: Jazz trumpet player, California State University, Long Beach

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