Wednesday, December 1, 2010

L. Ward Abel

The Business
(To Anita O’Day)

We saw her
at the Paramount.
The drums were thunder.

was a force of nature
and when Anita sang,
one of a triumvirate
that included

Ella and Billie, we soared.
A rumble was under the frame
that made up the floor-

With her later
small bands
she perfected chance.
Each song

was never to happen
again but for tape
and the memories
of drink, needles

and questions like what is jazz,
like what is the other side like?

The Gulf

Things don’t last forever.
Not even these old hills.
The oldest in the world
some say. But even they

will be ghosts someday,
will leave a memory
of heights and drop offs
that only the holy
can translate. I am finding
it more difficult to accept
the necessary view
that I have eroded down

from the young faults sheer
gleaming in an earlier morning
down to what I have become.
It’s ok, though. Because

now I can at least begin
to understand the layers
that have found their way
to a gulf of indescribable

Out Of England

Remembering England now
like some variation of a story
I’d writtenedited, revised.
But it was real.

When I lived there
it was still a cripple,
the war smoldered yet
some forty years after the blitz.

Lately I fear her pleasance
is fleeting, green
turned to something that die
snooks and crannies
approaching terminus.

Truthfully I hear her songs
the vibrations
quieted just a little.
I was a receiver
of psalms there

slept soundly one night
in a little town out between
Bath and London,
deeply pillowed, safe,
just a child.


Thirty years ago in Paris
I was young
sun going down
loaf of bread ham cheese
two--count them--two
bottles of red the river
how I carried my guitar
I don’t recall
but I was happy
without knowing it
No I think I

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