Tuesday, June 2, 2009

for sonny rollins

"school marms with halitosis cannot see
… the hawk behind sonny rollins' head
or the ritual beard of his axe..."
ishmael Reed
sonny, they say, plays
with oblique vengeance;
the resolve of horus.
a saxophone colossus,
he is that intense –
a falcon-not-hawk-headed
warrior-god in battlerage,
he venges eternally
the murder of his sire &
prepares the way for the
rebirth of new & purified
creation; attacking the
song, shredding inertial
constraints of melody &
meter, breaking through,
saving them, melody &
meter, freeing them from
the trivial; leaving them
with their sentiment,
& emotional core.
a winged sun disk in
full command of invention,
spontaneity & sweetness –
the impeccable integrity
of his robust tone & fat
phrasing midwifes the flow
of ideas, suant, adroit &
uncompromising. he blows
ideas up while spinning
them off into fresh territory.
his sound, unforced & oh so
flexible. each idea, fruit &
flower, opens, rises, closes
& sinks back into itself
only to open & rise again.
he derives joy from his
playing, is amused by
each riff, lick & chop
discovered, crafted. even
when cock-on-the-dunghill
best in the game, he felt
didn’t measure up, took
time off to woodshed,
practicing amid traffic on
the williamsburg bridge,
a phantom. no poems
or songs are written
about that bridge. no
attempts to even sell it.
but someone will remember,
will immortalize the
bedraggled angel of music
haunting that bridge,
practicing, trying to
perfect perfection.

©Joseph McNair

1 comment:

  1. Now I see that you do know something about music, and I thought you only had a mind that goes beyond the norm of twist and turns that people have left behind but I see I was wrong in my thoughts about you. Sonny Rollins nnot man and not a god but an entity that problably was born from the thread that music it self was made out of.