gary brower | chet


(For Chet Baker,1929-1988)

“Did it cry till it became all voice?
–Cicada shell.”


Definitely a funny valentine, Chesney,
later Chet, played the various instruments
of his life till he could no longer separate
heroin from music, vice from versa.

Did the clear-voiced trumpet or fluegel float
in the air-flow through his lips
from the liquidity of smack,
did he smack his lips with jazz,
smack his life upside the heart,
did his beautiful sound cause the fall
from his Amsterdam hotel room window
only two stories up, smack dab
in the middle of the pavement?

Was it the spoon or the horn
he played down to its last note,
like Janis’ wail, Jimi’s strung-out strings,
re-verbed back into the forest of his horseback ride,
leaving his crumpled life
like dirty clothes on the floor,
needles of sound puncturing the arm of his night
till the song stopped suddenly
like a cicada that left its shell
clinging to bark of a tree
like jazz at the stem of the brain,
like shedding your skin to follow your song
even to a street paved with white powder?

Which the addiction? The sound, the feel,
each the other? Which the abandoned shell?

Where empty form holds on
for dear life, winds will soon
blow it away.

The Official UK Trailer for Bruce Weber’s OSCAR- nominated film about jazz legend Chet Baker, ‘LET’S GET LOST’.

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