Michael Harper

Blues For A Colored Singer:Milt Jackson

Church music                                   never got over it
now called      ‘the blues’              vocalizer
found speed control early          as singer
vibrato like no one else               made you Dizzy
called back by Dizzy                     in the 50’s
known to be a player                   of blinding speed
yet Bird’s teachings                      explicit practice at home
Dizzy’s examples                           make each note make sense
(two makes: one descriptive;   one constructive
a tone of space                                miscalled third stream)
Monk left room                               Miles left mansions
John too mellow in vests           Percy    at home    at hommes
my mother turned on                  your version only
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”         at Christmas
her mass: full stop!                       Django with few fingers
no hands    yet Bag’s Groove     slight hangover
which stuck on your vines        liked you recorded abroad
symbiotic crossbreeding           instruments happenstraight
no chaser                                          Detroit called ‘destroy’
Joe Louis diction                          sitting in with all players
singing the blues                           under your breath
right out loud                                 slowing down perfect pitch
in vestrymen                                  conversation
never heard such talk                 in all registers votive
banditry                                           in the octaves
overtones in song                        undertreads as thresholds
I loved you on piano                  tranesaxophone
vibrobasshit                                   monkingus
chorus praxis                                dizzynote
homemade choruses                  nonsensical force made wholesome