7.24.2005

Cut and Paste: A Crash Course in Jazz

So here's the idea.
Miranda is apparently SF's new spoken word princess, although I do seem to have my own spin on things.
Point being: In order to impress some important parties, Top Cat, the Jazz band leader, asked me to write a topic specific piece about a subject I know nothing about in two days.
So here's how I did it.

First, I picked my favorite 40 words from a jazz glossary, and spent four hours at a wifi cafe writing a sentance containing each of them. Then I printed them out, cut them up, and rearranged them before writing a semi-final draft. As it is now, I s'pose it's readable--although I'll admit after all of that, I still don't know what a piece about Jazz is supposed to sound like.


I've scrapped my intro, and I offer no disclaimers, so I'll start at the top, more for my sake than yours.
I aimed to plan what cannot be, to take the rhyme from reason but still be left with a perfect identifiable progression. I saw no channels but those I created for myself, those I had tried to cut deep through the bowels of my own inhibitions; and then he wrote me into his opus.
Without rules, I was free, but his words struck a particular chord, one of sex and flight and literary freedom of where I and he could be from here. His was a gentle crush, but pervasively clangy, slightly metallic, smelling of sweat and salt; our chorus a tactile one, inaudible but felt inside and out.
He and I and words were the perfect triad and our charts were the novels of the greats, we the two who sought to emulate--to be.
Amongst rumpled sheets and skin our chase of words was easy and incomparable, and yet sometimes, spent, I'd have to bend to his will, play impressionable and young, lay out, smoke, and watch him. I'd watch every perfect word cascade from his mouth, limbs an extension of his speech, listen to him weave intricate tales that dwarfed my abilities, this naked genius wordsmith and I his storytelling princess.
We were of singular goal, the two of us, three feet deep, trading fours, five fingers around my hip, six, seven, eight to the bar and now I'm lost, rotating, looking for a signpost as I fear putting pen to paper in his absence.
Yeah, I'll count off, just for you, set my meter in your ears. One for all of our days and two for our partings, three could be for every last mile. But four would have to be for now. For everything now and new and fresh from distance with new words, new tempo; fresh from music.

And maybe I've forgotten my pen, me, fighting the clock, my prolificness only stunted by my own broken time, constraints of work and obligation constantly on the horizon. With this, there is no pick up. No before now.
So one day I'm a jaded tuneless minstrel and the next I'm a puppeted diva and there was no bridge; I paid no dues wading through coffee shops and bars and their endless lists and open doors. I set my own cadence, made my own way and sought my own voice and then from nowhere set gracefully atop a silver platter was the soft sting of opportunity, community and comradery. They offered me an erotic fame through their voices, my task to once more relearn my own language, and so in double time I strive to reinvent my voice, meld to those I newly admire and hope that just once, they will be proud of me, see their aspirations inside my words, see me as the Monster I aspire to be.
They show me things, they show me that solos can exist among many, that the best of us can be made better, that alone and lonely are two different things. I sit somewhere outside their tight knit world of improv and spontinaity and yet at their command, they are, to me, legit; and I want in, I want to know what they know, want to understand how they can mentally categorize a feeling without words but rather a note, a bar, a standard. From behind closed eyes I can hear them, and pen in hand, I beg them to blow.

Now, I can't do what they do, but I can tell you the blues, make you feel every tear I've cried, feel every climax, every exhalation, so I'll go out with a sweet smile and a thank you and hope to god I hear your fervent clapping, see at least your nods of approval. There, behind my pulpit, my stand, I will hope that you've heard what they have given to me, that you've seen my new verbage and drive to have what they have. They now are my front line, my parters in crime, my greats, My fathers; and Thus Is Jazz.
So here's my outro:
My groove is more calculated, planned with paper and pen, but it's there. My riffs are sentances.
My walk down the page is defined by grace and want and my break will come, and you will see me shiny and spotlit--
And...my...line...is...short...and...sweet.
Sometimes I'm fortunate enough to arrive in my perfect pocket, every word timed evenly with my every thought and mood, grasping hands and skin and crumpled sheets of paper saved for another night, I and my language on one even keel, one together with one brief vision; words, ink, tears music a conduit.
This is what my Jazz fathers have given to me.

Oldfield, Hodson, Mathisen, Huntsman--I haven't titled this yet. Hmmm.
--M

7 comments:

~PhoenixRising said...

hmm. An interesting thing... is this as it is implied, cut up phrasing repasted together? Hmm...

You've inspired me to get my little butt out there, so I'm thinking of checking out the Nyrucan Cafe this wednesday... of course it is the whole slam scene, but I think I could still get my word on...

_d

charles.bukowski.costanza said...

this, "We were of singular goal, the two of us, three feet deep, trading fours, five fingers around my hip, six, seven, eight to the bar and now I'm lost, rotating, looking for a signpost," is absolute tits. i love this piece; the title can be taken from a number of choice phrasingnesses found in there.

question -- did you mean that this draft is the response to the 'ass poem' or did that refer to something else?

Milkshake said...

Yes, this draft is the response to the "ass poem". I felt reciprocation was due. You dig? But I have to admit not all of it was inspired just by you, but a good healthy portion.
Oh, and that's my favorite part too. I'll e-mail you the words and defs. from the glossary if you're interested.

charles.bukowski.costanza said...

i am so interested. send on the list -- i love how you've put it together; and love too that i can see how it has some roots in our on-and-off-and-on saturday conversation.

my friend regan (brilliant sexy writer and montessori teacher) just wrote me, and here's a little gem that i feel the need to share -

"got your message, but our new phone battery is still charging so I can't call out. it feels a little like prison, if in prison one can watch celebrity poker showdown and hear gems like this one:

'you told me vegas was a family vacation spot, so I brought my nephew. turns out I had to hire a hooker to babysit him. came back and asked how it went. she goes, 'he got a little cranky, so I gave him a hand job and he went right back to bed'."

Thaozee said...

Another fuck yeah for "We were of singular goal, the two of us, three feet deep, trading fours, five fingers around my hip, six, seven, eight to the bar and now I'm lost, rotating, looking for a signpost as I fear putting pen to paper in his absence."

Beautiful fucken gold. I have no qualms about taking that as my own to pick up chicks while a take a long drag of me cigarette and look all moody and dark. I know you could call me out for one of those spaghetti western shootouts, where we only have one bullet each cause we sold the others to buy alcohol and various knick knacks...but really, your over there and I'm over here. heh.

Sam said...

I am experiencing a temporary lack of anything but ambivalence to contribute. I blame my lack of sleep and abundance of packing and moving.

I like the rythm of this piece best, I hear it in your voice when I read it and I miss you.

I just found out that one of my Uncles died yesterday, setting in motion yet another family rift as his wife won't tell anyone when or where the funeral is. Maybe I'll work off the mourning through this moving?

Also, I can't carry 1/2 of my couch, I'm too weak.

Shit, honey, I just want to curl up on my kitchen floor and have you cover me with a blanket while I cry until I'm done. I miss you.

Nick said...

The "countdown" was fun. I also liked this bit:

"I want to know what they know, want to understand how they can mentally categorize a feeling without words but rather a note, a bar, a standard. From behind closed eyes I can hear them, and pen in hand, I beg them to blow."

Let's all just close our eyes and listen to them blow.