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143

Poetry in Motian

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Shimmering behind Bill's subtle reharmonies
of the Gershwin tune LaFaro's pungent doublestops
and even that asshole girl's phony laugh
at the climax is your intelligence
I've never heard nor ever will hear the like
it's only Sunday night at the Village Vanguard
but I feel it's the garden of Eden
Years later it actually was or you made us think
it was again when you wrote that primeval drone
four notes the tenors moan in unison
you obstinately not keeping the beat
and three electric guitars jangling like cicadas
in our noonday dream of that time before time
Who taught you to write like that
for that matter who taught you to write at all
a skinny Armenian kid born in Philly
you started on guitar escaped Providence into the Navy
then hid out in the jade visions of the Evans trio
or so you thought
with your Paistes and your Zildjians and that loosey goosey tuning
But you shoulda known better
your mind could no more hide behind a drum kit
than the genius of Mingus or Bud could be kept in the mud
by the goons of our trite white society
yeah so they died snarling obscenities against it
but you made good and goddam sure their tunes
would not die off and out of their tortured singing
your electric bebop band crashed and bashed
and fashioned a thing timeless and wholly new
and marvelous for us your flabbergasted fans
man did you ever swing
Who taught you that I'll never know
but I do know one thing wherever you've gone or not gone
and you hear me good now
we'll keep loving you Paul you crusty fucker.

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