Friday, April 17, 2015

Poem: Listening to Vladmir Costa's "Promenade Sentimental"

Once, my husband put on a jazz tune, urged me to listen.
Who the musician was I don't remember,
don't care to.
Forgive me.
I know very little of Jazz.
But it all seems the same to me.

Jazz ruminates, closes me in.
Trapped in the musician's mental rumination
and the thread of his thought
I grow impatient
at the over-thinking
at being locked into someone's mind
at the pursuit and end of thought.

It's navel-gazing.
And as the saxophonist, pianist, whoever,
pursues and gets wound up
in his thread of thought
I don't like the fraying.

I find myself hoping with each
theme and variation
that he will leave his thought behind
that he wil just let it all go.

But now, he repeatedly returns.
Again, the stasis
Again, the looping.
Again, he returns to the theme and thought
which he is determined to muddle through.

And I, cannot free myself from his mind.
I am captured without being captivated.
Because it is all so mental, so interior.

But this --
this "Sentimental Walk" of Costa's.
I've heard it played on piano
and on guitar.
And it never fails to please
to heal
to bring me outside --so to speak--
into a larger world. 

It iterates, yes,
and reiterates,
echoing and repeating
the similar strain
but it's the heart's iteration
and the repetition doesn't close the hearer in.
Instead, with each iteration,
there is an out-movement
a rising higher
from the original thought. 

In my heart's mind,
in my heart's eye
I see through Costa's eyes.
He is strolling carelessly
near a lake in a small park
or on the boulevard of a large city.
The day may be bright or dark.
There may be people nearby or he may be alone.
But there is solitariness. 

I do not mean
or reclusivity
or solipsism.

Because I feel that 
the composer's heart is fully engaged
with his surroundings
and with whatever his eyes look upon.

Here he sees a pretty girl
and smiles, perhaps remembers one like her...from his past.
He blesses the memory, then, 
Then moves on.

His glimpse catches a ripple in the lake.
He stops to ponder the water flowing outward
from the center of the ripple,
receives it into his spirit, so to speak,
Then he looks up
at a cloud drifting across the sky.

One feels as one listens
that the air is crisp
but Cosma doesn't feel the cold.

Or the night is dark
or his own life's night is nearing its midnight
yet the composer's eyes and heart
are seeing the world anew.

There is nostalgia and sentiment
in this gentle meditative strolling.
The past is enfolded in the present
and if the past ever held grief or sorrow
the composer is now at peace with it.

Several times
a note lingers
as if Cosma has stopped midway in his stroll
to muse on a little pebble or
another rippled in the lake
but the musical movement never lingers long.

There is closure for the past
peace in the present
and acceptance. 

This does not happen in Jazz
which is often so preoccupied
with fully knowing
and fully understanding.

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