The Book Cooks
Excerpt from
Nothing But The Music

Thulani Davis
(Blank Forms Editions; Brooklyn, New York)


C.T. AT THE FIVE SPOT

this is not about romance & dream
it’s about a terrible command performance of the facts
of time & space & air
it breathes of journey/brilliant light journey
up thru the where was & who lived
it works those melodies to their pith/to their pulp
it fists & palms the last dirt roads
of lives that have to give out before they give up
bury me with music and don’t say a word
the only preacher is a poet
the text i have not read
but heard screamin’ out of saxophones
i have heard this music
ever since i can remember/i have heard this music
facing the dinge of spots & twofers
in the night/music/in the night/music have i lived

ripple stamp & beat/ripple peddlin’
stomps taps of feet slick poundin’ out
tonal distinction between/keys & sticks
between funk & the last love song/he romps in beauty
the player plays/Mr. Taylor plays
delicate separate licks of poems
brushes in tones lighter & tighter/closer in space
sweet sassy melodies lean in
givin’ in at the knees/where it’s at
to get that stuff/ sweet sassy melodies
hittin’ fast o! the top of the stride
sweet sassy melodies knowin’ what it takes
to even walk those bottom notes/stomps
on those bottoms yes he’s been there he knows
the man struggles/bends the meanness
takes hold of the meanness of a ditch beatin
sweet sassy/man you gotta wrestle that joy
dig your heels rapid on hard ground/over & over
straighten your back and grab hold of the blindness
of stars ‘fore you let go
this is not about romance
this is the real stuff
commandin’ a state/of the meanness/of the sweetness
of the time it takes/of the space it needs
of the weight of old air/it breathes
& sees like knives thru the thickness of flesh
& the blindness of our very selves
i have heard this music
ever since i can remember/i have heard this music 

4/15/75
Five Spot, New York
The Cecil Taylor Unit: Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, Andrew Cyrille

 

C.T.’S VARIATION

Some springs the Mississippi rose up so high
It drowned the sound of singing and escape
That sound of jazz from back
Boarded shanties by railroad tracks
Visionary women letting pigeons loose
On unsettled skies
Was drowned by the quiet ballad of natural disaster
Some springs song was sweeter even so
Sudden cracks split the sky/for only a second
Lighting us in a kind of laughter
As we rolled around quilted histories
Extended our arms and cries to the rain
That kept us so" together
Some springs the Mississippi rose up so high
It drowned the sound of singing and escape
Church sisters prayed and rinsed
The brown dinge tinting linens
Thanked the trees for breeze
And the greenness sticking to the windows
The sound of jazz from back
Boarded shanties by railroad tracks
Visionary women letting pigeons loose
On unsettled skies
Some springs song was sweeter even so

ca. 1978


© 2021 Blank Forms Editions; used with permission

 

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