Thursday, May 28, 2009

for al young

for al young
the poet laureate of california
yr illuminating dissembling,
yr vaunted double-consciousness &
african/american entendre, yr folksy
exegesis, flavor the second language in
which u write. a master of form &
polyphonic voice, u animate & enliven yr
verse, yr songs, stories & yr characters
like an ethnic god toiling over a lump of
clay, breathing into those creations -- not
unlike the breathy riffs of ben webster or
coleman hawkins -- enigma, sanguine
intimacy & the dead ringer for life itself,
music. like sterling brown & langston
hughes before u, yr first language is the
blues, subversive, destructive, liberating;
the hoodoo stab of hurt, erectile hope &
abandonment's vacuum-–that space
wherein the pressure of living is sucked
out through holes in the soul making
screeching & honking sounds like john
coltrane turning a standard inside out; the
blues shapeshifting into odes, librettos,
sonnets & piano solos of percussive ideas
& phrasings; into the loveliness of poems
that keep & lives that don't.

Joseph McNair; 2009

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