Tuesday, October 6, 2015

fly right - by John Sinclair (Proem)

fly right

(mr. monk: 1917-1947)

for jack kerouac,
who was there

a straight line
drawn across the years
of artistic growth is not

as the crow flies
but a nexus
of development, so far

as it goes
there is no strait line
but the accretion of experience

& the many twists &
turns one takes
to gain & measure the sizes

& shapes of activity
& its transformation
into song or verse,

the flight thru geography
& human, material, flesh
& circumstance

to bring a charlie parker
from kansas city to chicago,
new york,

dan wall's chili house,
minton's playhouse in harlem,
a gig in a taxi dance hall

downtown, the particularities
of experience, to be in one place
at one & the same time

out of cheraw, south carolina
to philadelphia, pa.
like a john birks gillespie

who said, if you don t know
why they call me `dizzy, you
don t know me very well,

from philly to new york
& the teddy hill orchestra
& cab calloway & duke

& such other aggregations
as would have him
for a week or a month,

the constant fellowship of musicians
riding on buses
through the long american nights,

talking, gambling, eating together
& the burning inside
to make a change in the music,

to enlarge it
so th at it would encompass
their enormity of intelligence,

the recognition
& joy, the great leap of the heart
to encounter another

spirit presence
in the same mold, & of i-
dentical shape, from

rocky mount, north carolina
to new york city & back
out on the road

with a faith healer
in a medicine show,
playing for the shake dancers

& pitchmen
& snake oil sellers
all across the south

& the midwest, a gig
with cootie williams & his orchestra
at the savoy ballroom,

the choice of kenny clarke & joe guy
for the house band after
hours at minton's playhouse

in harlem, where monk would meet bird
& dizzy
& charlie christian

& the rest of the cats
& play past dawn, until their music
established itself

& they were the pick
of the greatest of the bandleaders,
earl `fatha hines, billy

eckstine, & in monk s
case the father
of the tenor saxophone,

coleman hawkins
& a first recording
for victor, october 19,

1944, before hawk
cut i mean you
two years later, & monk

& charlie parker
& dizzy gillespie
put it all together,

on the stage
of the spotlite club

in the summer of 1946,
the magnificent dizzy gillespie orchestra
with arrangements by tadd dameron & gil fuller

let us now hail the author
of the 52nd street theme,
the pace-setter for the modern

a singular individual,
a giant among giants,
a man of whom it can be said

there has never been another
even remotely to resemble him,
a twister & shaper of rhythm & rhyme

& a maker of musical works
which have bent & altered the course
of modern life,

o thelonious, we salute you
at the outset of your career,
we are eager to receive your magic

as it flows into the grooves
of master recording discs of 1947,
we would have your songs & improvisations

re-structure the insides
of our heads
& our hearts, to see out

thru the eyes
which have seen
what you have seen

& to hear
thru the ears
which have no peers

o monk, if you please!
now grace us
with your incredible music

--John Sinclair

detroit institute of arts, 
july 7 / greektown, 
july 9 & 30, 1985

cincinnati, march 17
& detroit, 
march 22, 1991


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