Mud (Jazz Fest 2013)

Sloshing through fields of cold coffee
I hear the rumor of the tuba,
I the swamp of the trombone,
The splash of the sax and
The trumpet’s river barge moan.

The pitter patter of drums
Is hard rain on a tin roof.
I realize how wet Jazz is.
How perfect.
The city below sea level,
The flooded, washed up city,
Sputtering and spawning that dilapidated, foamy sound,
Until it grows, bursting at the seems,
An ocean pressing against the levee,
Like lips against a mouth piece.

I slide my bare feet through the fair ground rain,
Kicking puddles,
Crashing water cymbals,
Dancing the roots of my heels into the soil.
The suction noise, as my foot farts out of the soft ground,
Is a loose lipped tuba lick.
I can play the splash of high hat puddles with one foot
And unplug the muddy tug-boat tuba with the other.
I can make broth and butter.
Bo Jarome Battle would call it
“Peaches and cream”.

The lips of the sky spit and buzz,
The cloud of Jazz seeps in slowly,
Now we’re floating in it.
The bog that divides each crowd in two
Leads to a single empty spot in the front row,
We are sailors of it.

Let Jazz come to you and hold you,
If you try to reach for it,
It spills instantly.
I walk out past the young sidewalk brass band
“Playing their hearts out harder than the guys inside,”
Twisting them out like wet rags.

My bare feet sting against the pavement.
Under a dripping canopy of palm trees I walk a mile back home.
There, I pull out a stiff chair,
The legs honk against the tile.
I sit, tambourine dishes rattle into a pile.
Bass runs across the floor.
Someone’s leftover cup from breakfast
Is on the table rippling.
One heavy shot,
And I drink the muddy water some more.