Thursday, October 26, 2006

Refraction Two

How important is it for the reader of a poem to understand the writer’s intent? Darned if I know. Poetry is driving me crazy. I think I should stick to prose. Prosaically speaking, this is what I want to say:

My son Tom pulled me up out of Indiana for an evening of dinner and jazz in Kalamazoo. He still comes home most weekends. He makes breakfast, wrestles the dogs, does his laundry. His presence bends the light in every room.

We wanted to hear the jazz pianist/composer Lyle Mays play at the Union, but before Mays took the stage, if he ever did, I had to make my way back home. From across the room Mays, with his hair pulled back in a ponytail, looked a little like the late-bassist Jaco Pastorius. Both artists played with The Pat Metheny Group. Maybe the connection has clouded my view. I've looked for a decent Mays video on YouTube, but haven't come up with anything. While looking for Mays I came across some beautiful Jaco footage, at least to my eyes. Here’s a link to Jaco playing Portrait of Tracy, which is musical poetry, I think. Keep in mind that everything you are hearing is coming from a bass guitar. Portrait of Tracy.

Listening to Jaco play Portrait of Tracy you get a glimpse of the feelings behind the notes, but you don't get to see the exact picture. So, is this the idea behind some poetry? Maybe. I just don't know.


Jesus said...

Hey Charmi-

Yeah, I'm not into poetry as much as other people and I find some of it unapproachable- too vague and stuck up. But I remembered a poet who writes non-fiction (essays mostly) who my wife turned me on to back when we lived in Houston. Here is her website: She has some of her poetry and essays on the site. She's very visceral, tactile, honest, brave. Check it out.

Charmi said...

Hi Jesus -

Right now I'm enjoying reading poetry, some of it, but trying to write something and get my meaning across is killing me. It's this language thing. You know how you can read a language and understand it, but when you try and speak it your accent is so horrible no one understands a word you're trying to say? That's how I feel. I'm going to check out the web site you suggested. You know I prefer the essay mode. At least it's a language I can almost speak!