Thursday 12 June 2014


I came across the manuscript of this poem the other day; I don't recall when I wrote it, but it was published in Tokyo almost exactly twenty years ago, in a nice magazine called Printed Matter. It probably originated in the early 1980s, and was written out around 1990--I was trying to put together a sequence called Jazz Suite in those days, and this one was written around a Chick Corea tune as performed by the Gary Burton quintet on his Passengers album, which was released in 1977. This was the quartet with Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, Dan Gottlieb, and the wonderful Eberhard Weber added as a second bass player. It's a beautiful tune, and Weber's pulsing bass lines really make it work. You can hear it here.

I've redone it considerably from the published version; we change in twenty years and time does things to our perceptions and how we express them; I think it's closer to the flow of the music now, and the bent-up sonnet is clearer now....

(Chick Corea/Gary Burton)

This is something different from what we knew
Was true, when we stared across the narrows
Between our pillows & found ourselves lost

In wonder when storm tossed thoughts inside find
Faces we had just caressed, & whether we'd dare
To share our guesses. Trying to trace form

Mirrored in moving water, each impulse there
In the shifting spaces of our lonely minds,
Where waves crashed & broke, short of the places

We thought we'd choose. Where we might share storms
Or lose. Might hold each other & not get soaked
By tears. Then your voice rose, like foam from wave,

Saying why do we roam with the water near
If staying dry is what we really crave?

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