Clark Coolidge

Arrows: Selected Poetry 1957-1992
Black Sparrow Press, 1994


L.A. in Time

Gerry Mulligan the spikey guy who booted the baritone
in L.A. afternoons of ash on the venetians.
And his Chet of length, white drape phrases and early
bop lyric intentions, as if Bix had lived to curl Bird.
In this last-minute music there was more space between
the chairs, the ashtrays, the stripes of light, the tiny
bandbox low tile ceiling stage for loony interruptions,
quotes of your mother's favorite hum, and abracadabras
of All The Things a physics without zones to plug.
High in a whiskey parturience they doodled on panes
of the early Horse, grew thin but standable,
dwelt elaborations on all heights to tune.
Mulligan heard it Lester to Monk, the pretty snake of
laze to the clear box of casement, where pounds
at the tips won't interfere. He angled for the
clearest blend of caught line and held fold,
arrangement in a cut moment, no blurs as the
knee rises. And Chet, he was so bent, his
voice sheared higher, his locks curled Deaner,
even a dogface part in a picture, he lullabyed the
orphan boy in barracks khaki, and Time After Time
the teengirls watched his T-shirt shrink, tumbled
at his bell, and I Get Along Without You Very Well
(an ultimate gloss on crewcut Hoagy?). Where now
his smile when last facture dried from his picture?
He found and stood at point of breath all melody
could circle.

                    These guys drew in a Renaissance sky.
The Densities came later.

                    Unclutterable provenance. Where vacuum of
the notes not hit outline the ones that are.

                    A ThinMan's Music. Every time see
where all the four limbs go.

                                              And even the chaos

                                                                                          for David


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