Daily Archives: December 30, 2004

Artie Shaw

By the time I got to it,
the clarinet was odd;
a quaint small instrument for guys
who never got the girls
(even the ones who played
and sat in the same orchestra rows
day and day, year after year),
who shuffled in the back
behind the trumpets
and saxophones.

It wasn’t really a manly thing
at nine or ten years old
to play.
But that was after Artie
set it down, and Benny
stopped “Flying Home”.

Used to be the clarinet was king —
and guys who played it
led the bands that fellas killed
to get into. Not the “sweet” bands
(although even Miller’s band cashed in
on clarinet by chance, with
Moonlight Serenade, and Welk’s band
was the only place you’d see a closeup
on those nickel keys)
or the “money” bands, per se,
but the bands where you had to be
great to even get a note in.

To me, that was the reason why
I played that black and silver stick:
because of Artie Shaw
who even out swung Gene Krupa.

30 DEC 2004

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Feast During Famine

When Obiwan Kenobi felt the end of Alderaan
it was as if a hole appeared and swallowed, to a man,
the lifeforce of each precious soul existing ’til that time
and twisted, perhaps frayed, the cord of which we form a line

I wonder, when tsunamis hit, when earthquakes take their toll,
how many sense the devastation wrought, and still console
themselves that these are unknown folk of far and distance lands
and do not feel the spike that drives itself in others’ hands

In retrospect, we call it karma, God’s will, or bad luck;
but are we all so ignorant, fresh off the turnip truck,
that we must have some writing on the wall to comprehend
or find a mystic omen first, and then assist a friend?

The world is what the world is, whether nature’s realm, or God’s;
but sadly, we each feel so distant from it, and at odds
with every notion that connects us to each living thing,
and every song that all life forms but us have learned to sing.

The lost, the dead, the wounded? These poor souls have passed the test.
There but for the grace of some God, we think, we live and have been blessed;
but blessed not with just life, but opportunity to grow
and prove our faith in something is of substance, not just show.

How can we ease the suffering? How can we stop the pain?
How can we more control the world so it won’t hurt again?
A better question, one that might serve better those who grieve:
How long ’til each of us becomes what we say we believe?

30 DEC 2004

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