Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Kind of Blue

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Kind of Blue

Article excerpt

Blue as the trumpet notes

cascading from the tinny

car radio, the city

freezes to indigo. On the blue level,

at the top of the garage, we wait until full darkness

narrows our scope. Going down,

back to the lounge, we hum

snatches of tunes pitched to echo

through the staircase shaft, but break off

out on the street, where the new snow

swirls over black-pocked drifts. The intermittent

bars' blue neon lights

taint your thin coat and face and those

of the other walkers huddled

like us, heads down, not looking at one another,

intent against the wind and the lone men

hustling for change on every corner.

Again at the Holiday Inn, alone

at the keyboard, stiff in the unsteady

light from the bar's TV, you play

"Blue Moon," "Naima," "Blue in Green," infusing

each chord with the city's

grainy tones, backed by the sharp

clink of shot glasses being washed and the drone

of the 6:00 news, while the few

tidy conventioneers left in the room

heckle to hear what they came for:

not iron jazz, but real

down-and-out, dirty Chicago blues. …

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