Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Poem by Bryan Murphy

Mazunte Jazz Hurts
The guitar awakens to Hamish's tuning touch.
Hamish the outsider: youngster, beanpole, foreigner.
Mazunte’s air is heavy with coastal flowers and Dolores.
He knows she is there.
Hamish disburses his allotted notes,
thrills to the skill of the tenor sax beside him,
follows his bandleader’s instructions to stick to the score.
Hamish glimpses Dolores. Has she changed?
Hair bleached to a lighter charcoal,
self-composed, at ease in town clothes,
she slips beyond his vision.
Hamish's notes slide into urgency,
playing for Dolores,
calling her to his orbit.
Hamish has become technique,
Dolores forgotten.
Now the drummer plays off him,
indulging in riffs unheard.
Band members swap expectant looks,
Hamish oblivious.
The players urge each other on
with twists of improvisation.
Tenor sax dives deeper into the music and leads it
to places new. Hamish follows him,
and then is following no-one,
rearranging the tropes of the genre to outline new possibilities and then explore them: no longer technique
but raw feeling.
Their music stops rather than ends. Applause takes its place.
The musicians stare
at each other,
Hamish threads his way to Dolores. She is not alone.
He takes her aside, implores her.
She snaps.
Sorry. Just not my type.
The world stops turning.
His blood has frozen in his veins.
His liver has turned to lead.
His head hurts.
The bandleader approaches Hamish
like a business-touting Charon.
Hell to pay for disobedience.
We have to talk.
Hell’s gondolier beams.
Let’s get us some beer,
fix you some solo time
for our Oaxaca gig.
Hamish is back, in a world that turns
towards light.
Bryan Murphy is a former teacher and translator who now concentrates on his own words. He divides his time among England, Italy, the wider world and cyberspace. He is the author of the e-books Linehan’s Trip and Goodbye, Padania, and welcomes visitors at:

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