I HAVE FAITH IN MY OWN LEGS

Counting 20, 20, 20, in my head every hour on the hour, thinking – what’s the magic number, André, what’s it going to – folding pages in and out of paperclips; stapling.

The Subway. The black end of the line… the tunnel at the very end of the tiled-walk down the track. The yawning darkness. spitting out cool breeze. sounds of small tools being dropped. The misunderstood man in the corner, with his newspaper, mocked unknown by three scandal-seeking girls doing their best impressions of women. The beatific grin, the examined crowds, the track rumble like THUNDER, the cracks in the ceiling, and everyone herded-like, standing still in cattle-thoughts, looking dumbly up at the sound and then around. The pure white light, the rails of the viaduct, like a motion-reel movie picture, a blank blue-white screen. Everyone looking and watching the rails and the light. Pulled into the tunnel, divorced from time; returned and the rails, and divorced again.

Bud Bolden, Bud Bolden, Bud Bolden. Coming through Slaughter. Said in my head like a magic spell. Bud Bolden, Bud Bolden, Bud Bolden.

The finest jazz novel ever written.

snapping a man’s head back—like magic, through his shades, staring out the window, this one’s for you, lady, walking partner; when lisa was—when the man came and watched, and watched, and watched—even as I and my eyes, the man had no shame. this one’s for you, lisa and lady: one head snapped-back, at least.

There are good fugues and bad fugues. Bad fugues: your head like a worn, thin sieve, pressed from above with a thousand different, bursting at the seams with different, unrelated, loud-shouting things. Good fugues lift you up. You can see the whole thing. The world is bright and you’re carried up, up, up, and out. Outside but sharing the same pulse, and your words hit certain right tones, perfect notes, in your head.

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