Mingus en Enfer

This meat is the blues, 
meat my favorite, a color— 
the running blues bleeding red. These are reds 
victorious in autumn, from now on there shall be 
no more virgins, and no more marriages
when the street lamps stab the pools of water
in the gutters green, in the orchard flashing money—
the jungle in the pink clubs beneath the curb. 
Taxis! Stop to hear him, pound and hop, Duke’s piano, 
the upright coffin of rumbling stallion’s strings 
break and curl, crack and split, lengthen lacerate an eye 
with the drummer’s fluid crashes and booming toms. 

Charlie Mingus growls a throated cry a tremulous shudder—
a full bodied wine the Spanish waiter flies to bring 
to table for twelve guests of maybe sixes, sevens, nines. 
The swaggering devil lays his head against a wall, 
music is his coronation of roses—yet I remember 
confusion, sifting a comprehensible honor and beauty—yet
music, making speech unable; sent far away and alone;
our pupils were white-a-freezes as if we’d seen God. My God. 

Abigail Adams held her children in the threadbare Massachusetts winter
and the British cannon showed no sign of slowing,
the ground molted no feathers—and the boats brought no coffee. 
Providence-God’s winter gladness was a labyrinth of quiet madness—
and Charlie Mingus perched harpy atop a HiFi speaker at our side—
our intimates mad swollen—limbs congealed—impotent on fire—we were 
souls cleft. My lover’s affluence crumbled slowly with every passing beat. 

The voices of Continental soldiers swelled through the bay whispering—
Mingus—hell. Mingus—blues. Mingus—angel, beautiful and Black.
Mingus—hornet buzzing SoCal sun to a swing and flamenco strum: castanet,                                                                                   guitar, dancer, and drum. 
We saw red spilling on the fields once green, will my Friend return from
Congress in Philadelphia?  We’d seen the scrim of morning lit over the East—
Mingus—now a Nor’easter beating the shore’s eggs and lemons into an emulsion. 

Have you ever been married to a musician?
        Your dowry is a city of dances
        where nothing ever happens.
        Old leftovers, fresh sandwiches.

next time we should spend time alone in a cabin, surrounded by crickets— 

the loudest silence possible.