b.z. niditch | sight reading


Listening for a moment
by sheets
of alternative jazz
a once swing time guy
who knew Ella and Billie
this former roughneck boxer
once blood shot in the ring
and almost blinded,
now in a lemon yellow
aerobic muscle shirt
with a toothy smile
over smooth glasses
who asks me to play sax
on impulse
without boundaries
as to my age
when at twelve
only wishing to be jangled
over every fictive note
on the musical scale,
hungry for word salads
of Muse and music,
made serious early in life
by a lethal judge
giving me
an early sentence
of interface justice,
I became an early Beat
with punctured lids,
ears but not an ass kisser
tied to this world system,
living in buildings
along city hallways
between two oceans
accompanied by Rimbaud
even stealing the keys
from the upright,
visiting every pad
in the big apple
when bearded Ginsberg
played the sitar
hurling smoke
exhaled over
the nape of my neck
in this twelve toned world
of sight reading,
raised somehow
to be connected
to the Cedar Bar
where O’Hara hangs out
among the underground sounds
even once sneaking into
the Savoy to hear
some Dizzy,
and here I am sitting
next to Nat Hentoff
the jazz critic
at the Village Voice,
who listens to my
unknotted improvisations
when suddenly
from out of nowhere
I read my first Beat poem.

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