stone bridges arc, glimmering in lamps. Later this week
his Badlands face, handsome in a print from thirty
years ago, will follow me from the obituary page
insistent as windblown papers by the black cathedral
of St. Nicholas standing closed today: pigeon shit
& feathers, posters swathing tarnished doors, a litter
of syringes. (78)
Filled with relentless introspection and variations on Baker "Let's Get Lost", the speaker admits to passionate, personal associations with addiction ("I've never forgotten, never -- / this is the tied-off vein, this is 3 A.M. terror / thrumming, this is the carnation of blood clouding / the syringe" ), establishing a remarkable intimacy between speaker and subject.
Like too many artists in this chapter, Lynda Hull ( 1954-1994) died prematurely and unexpectedly from a car crash. "Our response to horror," writes Mark Doty in the "After Word" to Hull's posthumously published The Only World ( 1995), "is silence," but he adds: "Another is to make what one can, to create with all the more ardor and fury" (79). Perhaps, as Doty suggests, the creative act is the most we can ask for when facing tragedy, and perhaps the conclusion to her elegy might be read as a more universal gesture, where the release into the winds and waters of Amsterdam allows the human spirit to become as vibrant, invisible, and everlasting as jazz:
From the trumpet, pawned, redeemed, pawned again
you formed one wrenching blue arrangement, a phrase endlessly
complicated as that twilit dive through smoke, applause,
the pale haunted rooms. Cold chestnuts flowering April
& you're falling from heaven in a shower of eighth notes
to the cobbled street below & foaming dappled horses
plunge beneath the still green waters of the Grand Canal. (80)
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Jazz Poetry:From the 1920s to the Present. Contributors: Sascha Feinstein - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 158.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.