Bad Jazz — a poem

Bad Jazz — a poem August 17, 2011

I ate dinner at an overpriced steakhouse today. I tried to redeem the expensive mediocrity by sitting on the patio to enjoy a vocal jazz combo, over an overpriced cup of coffee. I’m no jazz policeman, but the quartet was depressingly awful and the whole scene made me feel even worse.

I took it all out in this rant of a poem entitled, “Bad Jazz.”

Bad Jazz

Not an eye closed;

sweatin’ the sheet like it’s goin’ somewhere.

“Body and Soul? No. I don’t know it.”

Hot rod misses the cymbal, hi hats slap flatly—if at all.

Solos torture themselves to stay inside the lines (playing those expensive, canned lessons Daddy bought you);

changes plod along like uninspired elephants, headed to meet some poachers.

Vibrato rolls gently, generically, without a plume of smoke,

and the phrasing of Mary Poppins (“It’s a jolly holiday with you, Bert”).

Not to worry, everyone can hear but no one’s listening; I’m trying not to listen.

Claps come belated, politely—if at all.

Don’t cry Miles: No one fucking knows you here; rest in peace.

“Thanks so much, that was Day by Day”

Browse Our Archives