Volume 6

 Poetry


THE LONG COSMIC CRY OF
THE SAXOPHONE

 

more Shockoe Audio...

 

Listen and read along... (minus out your media screen if possible)
Long Cosmic Cry of the Saxophone 1a  (home recording ten years later)


I

It's a tarmac swing and a bar-band gig <light jazz>

at the back of the blue roadhouse of life's urban rainbow,

endless aches and complaints that wander in

from across the street from that pink blinking sign,

a love accident, advertising itself as the "Signal Seven Motel". 1

After a heavy rain there's papers to track mud on,

drip color on from painted eyes and frosty beers,

a layer of barefoot myth, one hash den dream of existence,

lone jam of the jammer, oil of sax and a slick sax man,

sliding the music in on giant skids, saloon gates flapping,

everyone living wall to wall

in the space of a plate glass window scene,

across from the neon industry of dreaming, trying to get lost

in the overnight hours of a split-second dimension.

Call me the near-death poet, where do I park the rental truck?

Borders reading, November 2, 1997, with jazz accompaniment by Trip Johnson & C0.
     
J W Design photos of Borders Video

You never ambled up this aisle before,

smelling the rage and threat of hot sausages,

your big eyed, big lipped believability cursed because you look   2

like the last person who did something,

ready to explode in a brain rupture, mind departure,

rant behavior, blunt force trauma,

exercise of pure musician's burning hell spirits,

splattering out like slime dropping in a rain forest clearing,

slashed and burned, like it's lady's night with pitch forks.

Call it night club nudity, a paving stone chill

you rehearse and take to the grave.

Blame it on the shifting weather, tornadoes and snow,

a crap game with butterflies and frog legs.

Red eyed businessmen stare you in the face.

"Don't butt in," you say, as you download disclosures

from the Internet zodiac, voice-mail your Celtic hearth slut,

and line up a date with your Gothic motorcycle-weekend chick.

It's all part of a new-age lobotomy, strange lamp shade for the head

Long Cosmic Cry of the Saxophone 1b

where the soul gets strangled by visions at the underwear store,

hung up on the slinky volutes of a not-too-distant goddess.

Aren't we having fun with all those liberated, free thinking   catalogues?

You can buy anything, now, cherish anything, climb back up from hell

or let it all sink in as you swivel around on your Titanic barstool replica.

Time to collect that full set of shrunken heads,

let your eyes glaze over

while you center on the happy hum of all your appliances.

Beach music saxophone cries

still echo from the skeptical-age bar & grill,

the last one floating by, please, grab that framed dollar bill.

At the black and blue roadhouse bar-band scene

the creature from the wet lagoon still drags herself in,

orders a lethal dose of shots and beers, depth charges

she prefers to call them, and likes to ask you things

you wouldn't tell the ER nurse.

If you came to see the band, take it easy, use as directed

Daughters of heaven and other siren like creatures,

remember to leave some room at the edge of the stage

for the new heavy weights, open fault mother quakes,

and all that year-2000 madness for sale.

Don't be in such a rush to make the animals

dance in a circle, stars will do your bidding.

The tower's gonna fall, soon enough and crush the anti-Christ.

Bar-band gigs are still the way to go, so, come on over.

After, we can check out the mug-shot motel...

or not.

 

Long Cosmic Cry of the Saxophone 2
 

II

Cause baby, its a flashback fur trap, here on the catwalk,

cash back comeback that restarts a heart in search

of a lost beat, sex and death rhythm, all exhausting,

lord leaping out-of-body dancing, one more chance

to fall face down among the reeds and cypress knees,

a quick float, backstroke down the blue river ripple of jazz, man.

where you swim in the nauseating pea-green light

of any old night club and filter feed with lidded eyes.

Dust sifts down from trembling rafters,

back wall sprayed with bullet holes,

encrusted lips cry out in fungal pain,

more pain than any music cries by sax note alone.

High fever and death waltz lightly within me,

light pea-green, the dismal limit of my inner design.  3

There’s no romance here, no deeper symbolism,

just another loveless encounter

with numberless blonde initiation guides,

another teenage goddess of the fall,

a futurette evoking poetry, perhaps,

her numinous tome to be recalled.   4

Truth is, the poison has done its work!  5

Mildew bathed and threadbare the gray frazzled musician

clings to his spit encrusted brass

for a last noodle up the enharmonic pathway.

Drowning, he will bubble over and boil himself dry

No prize or recognition, nor monetary amount

can compensate for past tortures and self imposed

exile into musical wasteland solitude.

Only a flash of rose,

a dazzle white, subliminal moment,

makes the wounds regenerate

and spent hours redeem their worth,

only a rising flower, resurrected gardenia,  6

seldom seen on earth.



Long Cosmic Cry of the Saxophone 3
 

III

That sleazy shimmer,

smelly patch of stage carpet shabbiness,

waiting at the other end of dance hall darkness

tries to evoke the spirit names rising from a sax,

the heat-seeking ghost inside the mechanism,

still restores the inner shaman with the power to convey,

to commune with our heavenly aspects.

I am night-wing blue and you are fascination,

night’s work filled with the airborne drug

that creeps into thought and calms desire.

Behind me, through my dreadful gaze

the tortured man glares, the creature spirit,

his glint of medicine eye to stare you down.  7

If you could see as I do, you would see

the maiden comes delivering a dying flower

destined for an epigrammatic future.

When the petals drop and the body falls,

the long dark hall of the living closes in

and all you can do is do the shut-in shuffle

all the way to the altar-shrine, hell-stage,

platform-gibbet, carpet moldy coffin lid,

loony bin, escape hatch, psycho theater

and play her reflections, echo flowers

wilting on her cosmic grand piano, hover

weightless in the vision leading back

to the iridescent jewel of sanity

always worn inside the heart.  8

Oh baby, it’s a gig across the street from the Signal Seven.

Voices come to life and sing the music, light the flame

and waft the fragrance in your face, a near-death fever  9

starting at the back of the same blue roadhouse where I play.

 

Long Cosmic Cry of the Saxophone 4
 

IV

Under the timber of constant saxophone <Dead tune>

you dance the karmic toe dance, become the form,

welcome the high hat splash and

skip to the huge rhythm of barefoot puddles

as you ogle the sax and the sax man

take a walk on the jade edge of a gone tune,

a bluer waltz on the sad side of you.

Spare me the restless imaging.

Catch me in your hi-beam ray of stage light,

faceless, groaning constant saxophone,

gravel-throat gimmicks and release of notes… //

Cause here it comes, baby,

everyone jumping in place, the red white and blue streamers

and a burst of plastic notes announcing the first millennial TV non-event

with secret horn-men, want-a-be horn-blowers,

presidential, button-down horn player seized by an irresistible sax attack,

and the rumor of more cosmic sax men to come,

the consciousness caused by a passing musician.  10

I'm a jazzman learning to speak for the first time

without a saxophone in my hand,

without rambling thru the alphabet of Egyptian melodic male aggression,

flying without my twenty-pound, brass paper weight around my neck,

overcoming fuzzy headed creation, out of breath.

I'm a walking folk song that suddenly darkens, armed

with the blank stare of a creature seized by abstractions.

I'm a five organ transplant drowning in blue morphine,

scattering the breath of an afternoon on stale brass.

Dying of cold nudity, unrehearsed, exhausted by horn,

jeweled inside, bewitched inside,

I release every snap of embers once evoked on icy woodshed nights,

resounding mortal indigo from moldy reeds.

I drink the hazy planets, dazed; moons balanced, feather take me

as I blow the last fragile note of it all, enclosing a heart of blue shade,

of white-rose wizened light and stage dazzle perfection,

one last, utmost liturgical gig of whisper chill and candle vision.

I pay no attention to the life and death dance,   11

don't mind rumbling along, trembling just within the hidden,

alluding to the undertone, behind, beyond.

I press for a way out of gridlock and rose riddle quandary.

Therefore, I will rise above clay ear and dull nerve

and thereby make symbolic the heart of my big movie,

blue light juke box, poetry vending machine

hopped up, computer wish-bottle nimbus

rumbling a skin-tronic holo-porn, cosmic-veiled

hypertext-allegory based song of the unknown dream-genie

banana-fish, bar groupie gal with a pierced you-know-what.

<guitar solo> (Tell it like it is, Lucille)




Long Cosmic Cry of the Saxophone 5

V

Now days, Jazzmen come to the same place I do, playing their souls,

to fiddle with the measuring stick of prayer that dips

in the brazen vessel down to its fingered moments,

those intervals of notes and theory, twelve secret schematic hells,  13

a code that no one wants to learn...just to meet a lady of the night-club.

Jazzmen come to play their loud souls,

to follow neon's lively avenues, to play their loudness

raining blows on skin and bone, the ears and microphone,

to take turns at the handle of prayer and crank on timeless themes.

Men who play, reshape their flowers gently

from the papered walls of motel rooms; inventive men

who dare to practice jazz of the soul,

to suffer the woodshed nightmare of 'logs stacked against you.'

A few pieces snap together till they kindle a soul serenade. //

A soul evident from my rasping blues?  14

Don't mind me on my mournful instrument.

I drift farther from me than soul goes.

I just want you to feel one grain

in the sandy grit of a beach music saxophone,

to understand the courtship ritual the sax man

makes from the edge of the stage from the midst of the band.

In his solo he breaks through the wavy lines

to the smiling immortals on the other side.

In his struggle out of the flesh, out of his burned-in color,

he is made real and whole and half legend

from bare-chested surfer girls who ride off through the mist.

You can't dicker with this creation, eyes darting elsewhere.

It shivers along the lace hem.

You have to blunder in and seek the human hiding place

that we all sing with echo and trial,

that causes us to immortalize some poor rose in the glen.

At the end of my solo, there is only the jazz of my soul

at risk of becoming sand for the flower of creation,

and still doing its little breath dance, the real gone message

of my most perfect tongue-bite, pop-back to universal conscious,

dark and lovely rising head, viewed from the pillow of a pill-head,

love-and-battle-goddess, how-dare-you-reinvent-me,

pork-fest fantasy. //





Long Cosmic Cry of the Saxophone 6

VI BLUES

Cause baby,

It's a cosmic two step and ride cymbal sizzle

as I touch up the black and orange painting of my Halloween soul,     15

refresh my whorl of endless drip and spatter paints,

and lay down new canvas to wake naked and walk through

with color on my heels, kaleidoscope feet

to beat my erratic path into smoke-filled artistic, anal existence,

playing the player, being the horn and the horn man,

feeling the music like a rug, living wall to wall in the space of journals,

frames of reference, split second dimension, 16

third floor walk up, and lookout precipice;

one power to jump from the fixed and dismal,

right smack down the dragon throat of love and music,

art and self-mutilation. //

 

Call me the beat poet, left over from an age I never lived in?  17

You never walked through my secret country,

down dirt needy streets, the smell of rage

and life threatening perfumes always behind;

around the corner, summer's air smothering

like a whore's pillow, winter's cold and lights

tearing at the bounds of my deepest inner limits.

I feel like Kenneth Patchen voicing his poems

to some night club jazz  in a scat of escaping spirits,

almost like the time I played the saxophone

at my dad's funeral service, tears streaming

down my scared face, jazz welling up inside my

chest, one heart short of the power to scream. 18

The more I do such things the more you bewildered people

stare at me through the burned holes in your heads.

"Don't tell me any more," you say, as you edge away

and your pagers go off.

 

Aren't we having a ball at the universal joint?

I've played music and I've painted pictures.

I've hung pictures behind the music and

painted music behind the pictures and

played hung over behind the music and

hung music over pictures from behind.

I've got the hang of music and pictures.

I'm walking in and out of my notes, my journal full of entries,

head trips to bebop, jazz and beach music saxophone cries

arranged by harbor lit nights at the star dot horizon,

cafe rip-tide roar and jump joint bar grill pub.

The last thing I jot down craning my neck to see,

is the sex-wish, death-wish, art and love wish,

hoping to crash on through to the inside,

reversible cashmere straight jacket of cosmic

recreation, rock n roll redemption, rebirth and

powerful perspiration induced Ragnarok,

doomsday urge to light up like moths in a bonfire,

dancing the purifying smoke bath, noise ritual,

new years end of time, kill me when I come,

summer of the all night virgin clam bake.   19

<shiver music>

And I drag that vision home like a corpse,

lay it across my bed, kneel to it and pray    20

with pencil and paper, chalk and paint,

ink and crayon, spilled oblivion and dust

left by the finger smudges of trial and sleep.

I can rearrange night clubs on canvas,

pull the darkness from around them and

warm the shivers of my creative insecurity.


1. Police code: signal seven = dead

2. People with large eyes and lips tend to be more believable, win trust, become leaders.

3. Anais Nin: Dr. Hernandez on psychological well being, "The design comes from within."

4 Greek Gnostic ritual, (my speculation) everyday roadhouse version of Elysian mysteries.

5.Comparing instrument case mold to the ergot taken at Gnostic ritual initiations.

6. See poem: Yantra, gardenia is JLW's personal rose symbolizing creative life, soul.

7. Medicine eye, reference to shaman, induced vision to see where others cannot.

8. Self-knowledge.

9. The ancient symbols of self-renewal can be evoked anywhere any time by anyone.

10. Buddha discovers the middle way overhearing a guitar lesson.

11. Spiritual rejuvenation may not increase physical longevity because it often comes too late.

 

13. Music theory

14. Showing evidence of one's soul through art, an ancient pursuit.

15. Light and dark, half in shadow, partly hidden, correspondence of opposites.

16. Flat, shattered, dualistic.

17. I would have been eight or nine at the zenith of this era.

18. Patchen sought strength in union organization, I had no other living Warner person.

19. Perennial idea of immaculate birth, rebirth, or purification ritual by throwing a party.

20. Art as a form of prayer ritual rather than commercial industry.
 

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