McBridal Shower

I love upright bass, so by bass player Christian McBride I have as stand-alone Gettin’ To It (1994) , Parker’s Mood (1995), Number Two Express(1995), (as mp3) fingerpainting: The Music of Herbie Handcock (1997), Sci-Fi (2000). I first heard Christian as a sideman with sax player Joshua Redman – he was a strong support player but when I found Gettin’ To It his first release as leader I was eager to hear him get to it.

Bouncy, contemplative, fresh with a great version of The Stars Fell On Alabama – on this Joshua Redman is a sideman, along with Roy Hargrove on trumpet. Excellent, accessible jazz. On Parker’s Mood he is part of trio with Roy Hargrove & Steven Scott. As the title indicates, this a tribute set of Charlie Parker tunes given not-overly-respectful reinterpretations.  On Express he is joined by old school masters Chick Corea & Jack DeJohnette for another great set. The fact that he attracted these jazz icons speaks to his chops & reputation.

The Hancock tribute is excellent even though there is no piano in the bass, trumpet, drums trio. Adventurous rethinkings of Hancock that actually explores rather than treats the material with such respect it might as well be on a museum shelf. 

Sci-Fi, is, as the title suggests, a bow to the jazz-rock  sounds of Miles Davis &, yes, Herbie Hancock. In fact Hancock joins in on keyboards & even David Gilmore of Pink Floyd makes an appearance. No one really thinks of Pink Floyd as jazz-rock but Atom Heart Mother ranks up there with Inner Mounting Flame. Another homage that explores rather than replicates that time era.

You cannot go wrong with with any jazz lp that includes Christian McBride as leader or as a sideman.

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March With Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis is gifted musician & an articulate jazz historian. In my collection I have as mp3,  Think of One 1983 & as stand alone the Standard Time series vol 1 1987, Intimacy Calling 1990, Resolution of Romance 1990, Midnight Blues 1998,Monk 1999. At one time I had on cassette some of his classical work but when those tapes give up the tension ghost I didn’t replace them.

His taste is impeccable, his trumpet playing is precise, his sideman are cream of the crop & he is one of most revered of modern jazz musicians. But I find him a little too reverential. I guess, thanks to Coltrane or Sonny Rollins, I prefer my jazz to be more than tasteful. Marsalis recordings are museum pieces & even a little stiff. Highly polished but no sweat.

Marsalis also shows the difference between mere instrumental covers i.e. James Last, The Ventures doing Strawberry Fields Forever, & jazz interpretations i.e Coltrane doing Greensleeves. There was, maybe still is, a trend in jazz for this sort of cover work – Miles Davis doing Porgy & Bess vs Stan Kenton doing West Side Story. I enjoy both but Kenton’s is clearly for a less, shall we say, jazz audience.

I enjoy Marsalis when he comes up in rotation to be played but I don’t find myself going back to him the way I do with Miles Davis or Coltrane. Marsalis is the epitome of traditional non-big band jazz – though he has recorded with larger groups but his focus is on intimate settings. If you are unfamiliar, nearly any of his lps are a good place to start. The Resolution Of Romance features a great version of Skylark.

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Pointers for Cabaret Singers

I loved the Pointer Sisters from the get go. Their first several lps were an eclectic mix of the Andrews Sisters harmonies & swing, raunchy r’n’b, country, blues, pop & eventually, high energy dance music. The retro big band sound had been heralded by Bette Midler but the Pointers took it in a less camp direction.

I remember seeing them on Carol Burnett’s show doing Shaky Flat Blues. I have The Pointer Sisters (1973), That’s A Plenty (1974), Steppin’ (1975), Energy (1978),  Break Out (1983). I loved the dense harmonies on songs like Jada, the funky energy of Wang Dang Doodle, their take on Springsteen’s Fire. As they progressed their look change too from the almost church late’s 30’s look to a take change shirts & high-heels disco look. 

Rounding out the mp3 collection are The Ray Charles Singers: Songs For Latin Lovers – a great version of Desafinado – more sweet harmonies. The Manhattan Transfer: The Best of – featuring Java Jive; Swing: this is another group that mined retro 40’s, 50’s with bouncing harmonies, great orchestrations & even some ‘original work’ like the Twilight Zone & Birdland – the hits collection is excellent.

Now a deeper step back in time with some real cabaret stars. First is a great fake-live album by Marlene Dietrich: Wiedersehen mit Marlene. The audience reactions are from her actual shows but have been layered onto some studio recordings. Next is the legendary Mabel Mercer: The Art Of, which includes  Little Girl Blue (later done by Janis Joplin). She has gravelly gentle voice with an unhurried jazzy take on classic songs. Jaye P. Morgan, a nightclub singer who became a TV personality (or maybe it was the other way around) with a sweet voice for songs like My Heart Belongs to Daddy.

Finally the legendary Bobby Short: Live at Town Hall. He has one of those jazzy voices that is an acquired taste – urbane, slightly naughty & sophisticated. This is a fun set of show tunes, jazz standards & a nod to pop music of the time. If you want to dabble in cabaret singers Mabel Mercer is your best bet.

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Gunn Mann

Soundtrack composers are easy to dismiss for the mass appeal of their work – populist & therefore shallow. Henry Mancini is one such composer. The range of his musical ability is staggering when one looks at the span of his career. Academy awards only testify to the popularity of his work not of its quality.

Also with time, even his timeless pieces have taken on a sort of nostalgic campy quality. A song like Moon River seems quaint. I have always loved his music for Peter Gunn & have the original TV soundtrack. When you get past the Arch of the Cue Balls you have a fine, state-of-the-jazz art album that can stand with anything by, say, Horace Silver.  Quincy Jones Plays Mancini is a great set of covers. I love Baby Elephant Walk.

I guess I am a Herbie Mann fan, at least of his work up to the mid-70’s. The first Herbie Mann I heard was Push Push way back in 1971. I loved it & the use of harp in jazz was a revelation. I had that lp & replaced it with the cd. I found the double lp Evolution of Mann remaindered at Zellers & it covered the earlier part of his career, eventually I did the conversion from lp to cd. Stone Flute, & Gagaka I also had as lps at one time & both are stunning sets.

As mp3 I have by Herbie Mann:  Flute Flight 1957, Flute Soufflé 1957, Do The Bossanova 1962, The Complete Latin Band Sessions w Chick Corea 1965, Impressions of the Middle East 1966, Gagaku & Beyond 1976, Two Amigos 1990 w Dave Valentine, Beyond Brooklyn 2004 w Phil Woods. Stand-alones: lp to cd transfer of Evolution of Mann: a sort of hits collection; Stone Flute 1969 meditative with strings includes stunning take on The Beatles ‘Flying’, Push Push 1971 w Duane Allman Gene Bianca on harp. 

Mann was a world music fan before it was on trend. He explored Latin, Japanese, Northern Africa music with musicians from those areas. He steeped himself  in the sound & sensibility & co-created memorable music. I love the Gagaku work. Where to start? I’d go with Push Push. Don’t let his hairy shoulders put you off.

Rounding out the Mann mp3 cd compilations are: Wes Montgomery: Fingerpickin’, Moving’ Along. Early work by Wes with his trademark fluid jazz guitar. Stanley Jordan: Magic Touch – modelled after Wes, another deft guitarist. Art Pepper: The Trip – excellent sax with more of a hard bop edge. Some mid 50’s sleaze adventures, where you feel the tassels twirling around your nose as you listen: Strip Tease 50’s Classics: by the likes of Dave Rose, Sonny Lester – songs like Strip Poker, The Stripper; Buddy Bregman: Swinging Kicks. Burlesque A Go-Go: various rock-a-billy for peelers.

Perhaps the ultimate Bond soundtrack by John Barry: Goldfinger. Shirley Bassey delivers the best Bond title song of all time. Finally as a break from all that:  Don Slepian: Electronic Music From The Rainbow Isle – a moog, computer music pioneer; Szatvari Csaba: Galilei’s Nightmare – new ageish sound textures.

Take The Plunge

the room was full

maple leaves sumac oak

aspen poplar beech

more leaves than the eye could see

could gave names to

rose lilac no flowers just leaves

stacked

each one tagged 

ready to be discarded

<>

leaves fluttering chafing rustling

at each breath I took

whispering to each other

that I was there

shuddering 

at the sight of my rake

they feared the rake

<>

the brown big bag behind my back

wasn’t going to hold them all

I’d need more bags

more rakes

<>

the leaves trembled in anticipation

to be stuffed crammed

longing to be taken outdoors

to become compost

for future leaves

<>

I didn’t know where to begin

were there stairs

the house was crammed

floor to ceiling

nothing could be seen

leaves crumbling 

stumbling 

over one another

more arrived every minute

squeezing though cracks in the wall

down the chimney

<> 

it was an endless task

I began raking 

pulling them from under chairs

bag after bag

line the curb

yet the house never emptied

all around me 

the swirl of leaves

green red black pointed waxy

I couldn’t get down the stairs

my rake was useless

they no longer had fear

no bags left and there were more

<>

catalpa palm smoke tree

I climbed out to the porch roof

the street was an ocean

the bags I had tenderly packed

had all broken open

children where running and playing

diving through the leaves

never touching the ground

unaware of the dangers

beneath the glorious tempest of leaves

<>

I took the plunge

(2008)

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Ottmar Romero Arthur

By German guitarist Ottmar Liebert I have stand-alone cds: Nouveau Flamingo (1990), Borrasca (1991), Solo Para Ti (1991), The Hours Between Night + Day (1993). He’s classified as new age but for me is more ‘interesting’ than that label. An amazing acoustic guitarist his playing is precise, emotionally appealing & rarely sleep inducing – sleepy is what ‘new age’ implies to me. His sound is consistent through the cds I have & this there is a predictability to the music but it always a welcome presence. The lps become progressively more reflective & less flamingo. If you are unfamiliar Nouveau Flamingo is a great start.

Another fine acoustic guitarist is Brazil’s Romero Lubambo. I have his as part of Trio da Paz’s Black Orpheus (1994), & his solo Lubambo (1999). Both are amazing latino jazz with a touch of folk. The Black Orpheus is an incredible reworking of that sound track. The original soundtrack is also sensational & was responsible for the rise of world music – the film is also amazing. The Trio is joined by the likes of Herbie Mann in their exploration of the soundtrack. His solo work is less folksy, more jazzy & timeless. Very different from the Liebert treatment of latino music – not as slick. Some of it moves from jazz into contemporary classical. Both of these are worth searching out.

Now we come to Hawaiian Arthur Lyman. I have The Best Of 1996 (compilation): American jazz vibraphone and marimba player. His group popularized a style of faux-Polynesian music during the 1950s and 1960s which later became known as exotica. Exotica is a fun blend of cocktail piano jazz with jungle sound effects – bird, monkeys – plus percussion. Songs would have titles like Sleepy Village Sunset. 

Lyman came by his faux by being real a Hawaiian. His piano playing is thoughtful & easy but don’t mistake it for gimmick. He influenced Dave Brubeck & countless other more serious jazz pianists. Exotica  itself spilled over into what became World Music. Countless groups, from Santana to Pink Floyd, also used sound effects so the Lyman influence transcend his niche. Try him you won’t be disappointed.

Arts und Krafts

Kind readers, one thing your reporter neglected to mention in my wee report yesterday was the Christmas Arts und Krafts display at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral’s Fun Fair. Like many of you I have seen my share of knitted booties for rifle stocks and candle holders made out of moose dung but there were some unexpectedly fine pieces from the near by College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers of Palmixalitato County.

I am well aware of the rivalry that has been going on between the students in that county and our own but remember we did trounce them the last three years in the Provincial Open Court Peach Pit Curling Play Off. So we can afford to allow them to excel at something and excel they did at the Fun Fair.

There were the many charming crystallized bones pieces from the Anatomy of Design classes there. I was particularly taken by the crystallized moose bone reproductions of the Departments of the Cross that one Leslie-Ann Marie-Betty McDellon had created. 

I can’t imagine what sort of skill it takes to do such fine work but I can certainty respect the work that it took. 

Also many were charmed by the spiderwood furniture Gregh O’Treple has wrought there. A sturdy eight legged rocking chair with a fine webbed seat and back was very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. He hopes to follow in the family footsteps and may be opening his own furniture and restraints shoppe right here in Crab Apple Corners. He will surely be missed in Palmixalitato County. But their misery is always our gain.

Another feature of the Fun Fair that cannot be neglected was the food pavilion. Over 20,000 were seated at one time for a fine feeding of Trish Creamly’s delicious sprung bark toffee pie. Trish you have out done yourself this year. Just save that recipe for my wedding reception. I know if you keep your hands on the crust you’ll keep them off my man – just kidding folks.

The children at the Fun Fair were also treated to a production by the local Armature Theatre Guild. They performed tragic scenes from various plays. The beheading of John the Baptist brought the crowd to their feet and kudos must go to Hank Grebly who did a fine job in the title role of that piece.

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Ramsey Lewis 

Ramsey Lewis’s falls at the jazzier end of instrumental music. He carved out a career strongly based on jazzed up, excellent, covers of pop songs, movie themes & some straight ahead jazz work. His earlier lps Bossa Nova (62), The In Crowd Live(65), Hang On Ramsey! Live (65), Wade In The Water (66), are fun, better than easy-listening work. You would never mistake him for Keith Jarrett but he’s miles away from Eddie Duchin. 

I had Wade in The Water as a cassette & loved it & the horn arrangements. He recorded some of these lps under the direction of Charles Stepney, who was also the producer of The Rotary Connection – a trippy, LSD soul, r’n’b group that are sweet & stunning. The peak of his work with Cadet Chess is Mother Nature’s Son (68), an lp of all Beatles covers with wild electronic, electric piano work. I loved it but my buddies at the time didn’t get it. It wasn’t their idea of jazz & as it flirts with a weird LSD cocktail lounge sound. Plus musician like Phil Upchurch & Minnie Ripperton added to the sound.

In the early 70’s he changed labels & direction. Thanks to the jazz-rock trend he tested that expansive sound with Upendo Ni Pamoja (72), Funky Serenity (73). This are more Bob James than Weather Report & his electric piano work is pleasant.  As much as I enjoyed these this didn’t hold as much as his earlier work so I lost interest in him after these. 

On the mp3 collection are three lps by Stan Kenton – & his big band. Cuban Fire, Hair (not as campy as you might expect), Easy Go. Like Lewis Kenton did interpretations of pop, Broadway shows. He remained more ‘grounded’ & never ventured into the trippy territory that Lewis handled so deftly. 

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Afro-Classic Laws

I picked up Hubert Laws’  Afro-Classic (1970) at a used record store back in the day. I was attracted by the cover art – the cheetah (I think), then by the selection (Bach/Mozart) & finally by the producer: Don Sebesky. A few years later I added lp of Rite of Spring (1971) another all classical jazz. When I upgraded to mp3 I added Studio Trieste (1982) w Chet Baker (includes Swan Lake), & Land Of Passion (1979) easy listening a step above Kenny G.

Don Sebesky devoted himself primarily to arranging and conducting mashed up jazz/classical work for a cadre of prime jazz musicians such as Hubert Laws, Gabor Szabo, Wes Montgomery. His ‘Big Box’ contains the superb mash of Birds of Fire with Firebird. His work is tasteful & easy – nothing aggressive or even transgressive. His work on the Hubert Laws lps is sweet, Laws is an excellent musician in his own right & the two of them go together well. If you are unfamiliar try Rite of Spring.

Walt Dickerson: Impressions of Lawrence of Arabia  (1963) Jarre’s music by vibraphonist Dickerson was an lp I picked up 2nd hand & enjoyed. I knew the film music but had didn’t know Dickerson at all. An engaging & interesting exploration of the music I’ve always enjoyed. Nothing aggressive but more than mere instrumental background music.

Also on this cd are some more challenging works by John Abercrombie Quartet (1980) on the ECM label. This a simmering shimmering set with amazing guitar work by Abercrombie. Inventive without becoming overly aggressive. If you want to step up the challenging there is Jan Garbarek’s Esoteric Circle (1969) Norwegian tenor sax Gararek is joined by the amazing Terje Rypdal on guitar. Gararek work here is more jazzy than soaring – his sound is distinctive & I’d recommend anything by him. Rypdal is amazing too & even creates his own guitars. Sonic tapestries that are slightly discomforting in a good way.

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Yusef Lateef plus

Lee Konitz (1927 – 2020) Brazilian Rhapsody (1995) focuses primarily on Brazilian standards. Konitz is a solid, lyrical sax player – inventive without being jarring. Here he does sweet work with some of my favourite Latino standards: Manha De Carnaval, A Felicidad – romantic without being cloying.

Yusef Lateef (1920 – 2013) Over a 2cd mp3 collection I have Lateef’s complete recordings from 1957-1963 – as well as Towards The Unknown with Adam Rudolph. Plus, in another collection, his later Eastern Sounds, Blue Yusef, Lateef’s Sound, In A Temple Garden & stand-alones Psychicemotus, Golden Flute. Also, in the mp3 collection, just for fun, is Logan’s Run (soundtrack) by Jerry Goldsmith.

I think In A Temple Garden was my introduction to Lateef – an impressionist mediation with temple bells that invokes quiet afternoons in another world – verging on new age but with real jazz underpinnings.  I picked it up as an lp & returned to it frequently. I picked up  Psychicemotus, Golden Flute two of his mid 60’s verve recordings as cd reissues with great liner notes. These are excellent with touches of world music & even a take on Gymnopedie #1.

The recordings from 1957-1963 are a more recent additions. I bought them from iTunes for under $10.00 – many of jazz recordings from the 50’s, 60’s are now public domain & you can find massive reissue collections like this to download cheaply. This one was sorted nicely into the individual releases with covers. Some are dumped with to regard to original lp order.

From 2010 is Towards The Unknown with Adam Rudolph. A fascinating collaboration that includes songs, orchestra & jazz combo – smart compelling modern music. He is a sensitive musician – sax, flute even keyboards – who explores with a lyrical sensibility that is always inviting & rarely dissonant.  If you are unfamiliar I would recommend starting with those Verve reissues.

Jerry Goldsmith’s Logan’s Run is a total delight. I watched the film, again, a few year ago & the synthesizer work is outstanding & totally captures the the early 70’s sound as well as the sense Hollywood had of what the future would be. Both are worth seeing/hearing.  

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Moe & Krzysztof

By Canadian flautist Moe Koffman I have as stand-alones: Plays Bach, The Four Seasons & Best Of. Best known for ‘Swinging Shepard Blues’ he has had an extensive career of jazz classical exploration. If you listen much to CBC radio his Bach pieces show up frequently as theme or ‘pause’ music. There is a jazz trend to interpret classical music, much like prog rock (i.e. ELP’s Pictures at an Exhibition). Koffman does this with more of a pop than jazz approach. Great music. Sadly, as far as I can tell, his Four Seasons is out-of-print & not available in any form. Some of the cuts are included in the Best of cd.

Next K is am MP3 cd compilation of creepy soundtracks & more classical adaptations. By Krzysztof Komeda: Rosemary’s Baby; Jack the Ripper; by Paul Glass: Bunny Lake Is Missing; Essential Hitchcock: st music from Lifeboat, Spellbound, Psycho & others; Mondo Cane Soundtrack. And explorations of Satie by Joe Santos & by The Camarata Contemporary Chamber Orchestra. Velvet Gentleman.

My partner had the lp of Rosemary’s Baby soundtrack, which I enjoyed. I eventually I replaced it with a clearer sound & its was paired with another of his soundtracks. Komeda, a Polish jazz musician, did soundtrack for other Polanski films. The music is  suspenseful & moody. Komeda died at 36, so is mostly forgotten. 

The Mondo soundtrack covers various styles & moods & got an 1963 Oscar nom for the song More. Paul Glass’s Bunny Lake Is Missing is another moody work. I had the lp which I bought solely for the tracks by the Zombies – this was time when British films makers had to include a scene with a live rock band. I was & still am a Zombies fan.

The Essential Hitchcock: st music from Lifeboat, Spellbound, Psycho & others. Moody, impressionistic stuff with the Psycho music being classic stuff. Those shower strings pulsate with terror. Elsewhere in my collection I have the complete Psycho soundtrack – well worth searching out.

Finally more classical – this time of explorations of Satie by Joe Santos & by The Camarata Contemporary Chamber Orchestra’s The Velvet Gentleman & The Electronic Spirit of Satie. Santos is  in the Tomita electronica realm but not as lush. Camarata is stunning. These were two must have lps at one time. Real musicians & moog combined to perfection. The lps cover more than the Gymnopedies. I love the spoken introductions on Electronic Spirit. Well worth tracking down for your collection.

scrap of a story from late 90’s found in an old notebook

The New House

The back fence was about twenty yards from the kitchen window. Kit could barely see the rag he had nailed to the post. It was one of the few intact fence posts. A few pickets angles away from it.

In front was a sturdy post for the mailbox. He’d painted it earlier in the week. His first claim to possession – the stamp of ownership. A new mailbox was all he could afford at short notice.

The sky blue of the box stood out against the green of the cedar hedge. When he found the time he’d add his name to the box. Moe too his efforts so far had been in the garden.

Untended for many years he had his work cut out for him. The ramshackle garden was the deciding factor in the decision to buy this house.

The red clay soil was a challenge he felt up to. He knew a year of two of mulch would bring rewards. A game of seeds was next to see what would suit in the mean time.

He’d seen  several shows on TV about how some plants helped the acid balance of the soil.

“What’s up?” Jim, his boyfriend, stepped on the veranda with him.

“Jim! I didn’t expect you up this early in the day.”

“I expect danger pay for barring those early birds.” He did a little dance like bird pecking around Kit’s head. “Actually I’m up because Carol called.”

“Carol?” Kit knew that could only mean one thin. “Time for Bix’s seasonal check up? Seems he just had one.”

“About this time last spring.”

“Well, we don’t want the stress we get when we skip them.”

“Right and we’ll get to see if the change in climate has been as good for him as it has been for our relationship.”

….

That’s it 🙂 I have a scattering of such fragments were I’m experimenting with just making people talk.  No outline or idea of where etchings are going, or who is going be there as the words bring them into the story. 

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Bright Moments

Rahsaan Roland Kirk can thank Jethro Tull for introducing him to me. I have in my collection: I Talk With The Spirits (1965) which includes “Serenade to a Cuckoo”; Blacknuss (1971); Prepare Thyself to Deal with a Miracle (1973); Bright Moments (1973). Each has a different jazz sensibility but all star Kirk’s amazing sax, flute & percussion. By amazing I mean he often played two reed instruments at the same time. That’s a lot of breath control & tongue work.

I had the double lp Bright Moments on vinyl, did an lp to cd transfer & finally a mp3 download. This is an excellent live lp that brilliantly captures a moment in jazz time. Kirk’s poetry, chat, rap are engaging & his urge for us to enjoy our bright moments is still relevant. Bursting with positive energy, great playing, amazing sidemen & vibrant songs this is a classic recording. You want jazz? This is a great starter or addition to a collection.

The other Kirk lps are bit more meditative as he explores African rhythms, current jazz standards & spiritual yearning. His sax work is restless at time, dissonant but never as challenging (to me) as Coltrane. There is some free jazz improvisation in sections. ‘Spirits’ is a good starter of his sweet studio work.

I made a copy of Muhal Richard Abrams: The Hearinga Suite (1989) when I borrowed the cd from the library. I loved his Big Band sound that combined African rhythms with nicely constrained free jazz. This is timeless jazz with a complex big band that explores while remaining accessible. Mama & Daddy (1980), The Hearinga Suite (1989). Try either of them if you want big band beyond Ellington.

Rounding out this mp3 collection are some works by Yusef Lateef – The Sounds of Yusef 1957, Eastern Sounds 1961, The Blue Yusef 1968. Primarily a sax player he is known for having been an innovator in the blending of jazz with “Eastern” music. All are excellent. More about Yusef when I get to ‘L.’

dipping into the archives for a story that goes back to 1970. Yes I am aware that the point-of-view shifts in a rather schizophrenic way. I had to resisted making it consistent – the italics appear in the original as well. 

Chopin

1

I think, David is safe, turn up the stereo to let music thicken & wrap me with its deeper protection. I am David. David is safe. What more can I be. I think of safeness frequently. Turn the phrase I am David. David is safe over & over with my mind’s tongue, look at them as if they were a Calder mobile, a möbius strop. David is as safe as rocks. Large, immobile, secure rocks. The music swell around me like sea around those rocks. David often finds his ‘I’ becomes an observer, becomes ‘I’ that am not always aware of & one which David never resists. 

David walks down the street, looks eagerly for my reflection in store-windows There I am. Safe as always. David watches people around him, watches their reflections beside him. Then I glance carefully at them to see how close their reflections are like them. Sometimes my eyes linger too long on the real, on the flesh, on the motion of muscle beneath cloth. A boy, about nineteen, returns David’s unseeing gaze with a deeper, threatening gaze of his own greeds.

I go into a store. My favorite record store. David looks at the other customers with smugness. He is safer than them. Here I know what I want. I go straight for it. There it is.

A girl watches me. I feel her eyes on David’s quickly moving hands. I glanced at her. Jean. She is a past lover of mine. One I haven’t seen for sometime. I haven’t quite given up my need for her.

“David? How are you?” She asks, moves closer, eyes brighten, hand reaches to touch David’s.

“Good. And you Jean?”

“Can’t complain. Still listening to the same?” Her voice eager, her perfume brings back morning memories.

“Nope,” I hold out the record. “I’m trying for a little more romance.”

“A little more! Out of Debussy & into Chopin. That’s quite a jump.” She smiles, takes the lp & turns it over, as if the cover, the change in direction, would betray something new to her, about this man. “I prefer his waltzes. These scherzos are little too … too …”

“Melodramatic?” I take the record from her. “Would you like to go for a coffee or maybe a drink? I’ve been wondering how you were.”

A pause. “Sure. I haven’t much to do till I go to work.”

David pays for the lp. Something new to look forward to when I get home. Out of the corner of my eye I see the same boy. Yes, nineteen, the firm age. The boy wears overalls with no shirt. The side-buttons are undone. Flesh shows. The boy is so well tanned a sharp break of white glares from the unbuttoned side. The overalls are tight around his thighs & calves. The hair on his chest thickly swirled.

Clumsily I put my change away David feels a strange urgency. A need to follow & question the boy, a need to look at something else. I turn abruptly to Jean. “Well, where would you like to go?”

“Any place quiet & cool.”

“I think there’s a lounge just across the street. A cold drink seems in order.”

“Oh, lovely.” She take his arm easily & guides him “I was hoping you would suggest something like that.”

“We still have the old ESP?” I laugh, cross the street, we must make a fine couple. Then see our reflection coming at us from the lounge window A fine couple indeed. How did we ever fall out of love?

Jean goes to the furniture store window next to the lounge. “Oh, Look!” She points past their refection at a living-room set. “Isn’t that pine fantastic.”

“Swedish-mod ripoff.” David dismisses while sees us married in the living-room, me lounging carelessly on the severe couch while she … Funny I see her there but not doing anything outside of completing the picture.

We moved on to the lounge. The Black Hat.

“I’ve never been in here,” I tell her, to avoid being blamed the place isn’t perfect. New places aren’t safe.

“I’ve been here a few times,” she reassures, knowing his dislike of new places. “It’s really very nice, quiet, especially this time of day.”

part 2 next week

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