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Two Views from the Club, 1991

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for Elvin Jones (1927-2004)

Outside the club
at 131 West Third Street,
neon signs lose their glare
in the stillness of snowflakes
that mark a late spring. A rumble
perplexes pedestrians accustomed
to subway cars or thunder, but
neither has a presence here or now.

Inside the club called the Blue Note,
Elvin Jones glistens through a drum solo,
a sustained cacophony of color. Typical
sticks aside, he performs with tympani
mallets, locomotion forceful enough
to make the cotton tips disintegrate into
the air, to float above the audience in
a delicate stream, a truth serum that belies violence.

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