“Truth Comes Marching In –Remembering Albert and Donald Ayler — a poem by Mark Kerstetter

February 13th, 2014


__________

Truth Comes Marching In

Remembering Albert and Donald Ayler

Names like
Little Bird & Bicycle Horn
missed your tracking
Parker solos faster
backward to the future,
higher than Shaker Heights,
further than armies marching
to spiritual masterlocks
missing the Trane
to the Future Truth
marching in.

French Mayonnaise
sustained journeys
to Sweden & Denmark
where pickup players
kept standard time
while you advanced
in advance of ears
to a Primitive State
tuned to New Truth
in a key Taylor made
to play with Cecil.

As only a few had Ears,
Sense and Prescience,
like Trane & Dolphy
doubling Basses & Snares,
you were locked on a track
between Cleveland & Harlem.
So you shed your bag
of nonessentials
like the Baptist Christ
in favor of
the Ancient Spirit God.

Like a Monk hums
tunes to carry
back to the source
lessons from God
in the shapes of Jazz
to come,
swinging low
from Angels to Devils,
from High Aspiration
to the bloody street
and beyond this world.

From rubato
to no time,
from melody
to Organic Unity,
not playing
but listening,
not musicians
but Spirits
with eyes & ears
disciplined, sobbing
and rejoicing.

Like a dance alternate
called on to perform
who hasn’t yet learned
the steps,
you fumbled
to finger the horn
your brother seemed to know
by heart,
exhaling before you breathed
a single
note.

Play all you can play,
the Whole Spiritual Self,
a thousand things,
moment by moment,
escaping ghettos of mind,
screaming of Peace & Silence,
Revolt & Affirmation,
the chaos of Now,
the promise of what will be,
one long prayer
of listening.

From Jokkmokk to Cleveland,
from La Cave to The Village Gate,
riding a New Wave
not of notes
but of feelings,
marching to the Divine Rhythm
of the Old New Orleans Collective
back to the Beginning
because it’s late
getting ready for the Truth,
because it’s going to happen.

Bells are ringing
for Freedom Riders,
Voters, Summers.
Bells are ringing
for the New Schools,
new laws of Freedom.
Tongues of Bells,
Arms & Legs of Bells
marching Freedom
to the New Music
Ringing Bells.

Get ready to
mix it up like Miles,
black with a patch of white
& a Sunny Peacock
to escape the bars
of Little Rock, Birmingham & Selma.
No shutting white out
like Shepp; tho justified,
Justice demands a march
of the Unified Spirit,
so get ready.

When Truth comes marching in
will we know it?
If a mangled cry
will we hear it?
If Truth comes marching in
with Spirit Titles
but no thin dime
will we face it, or
will we pass up our turn
to change a mind,
when Truth comes marching in?

 

*

markk

Mark Kerstetter steals time away from restoring an old house in Florida to write and make art out of salvaged wood. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Fickle Muses, Connotation Press, Evergreen Review and other journals. He is a winner of the Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award and is the former poetry editor of Escape into Life. Please visit him at markkerstetter.com

__________

“Spirits Rejoice”

Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings by six artists -- Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano. Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian, and Aaron Burnett

Short Fiction

"Crossing the Ribbon" by Linnea Kellar is the winning story of the 51st Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Poetry

Seventeen poets contribute to the Summer, 2019 collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer John Snyder about the experience of working with Ornette Coleman at the time of his 1977 album Dancing in Your Head

Art

“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Poetry

Poetry by John Stupp and Michael L. Newell

Art

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Art Pepper, Pat Martino and Joe Williams.

Interviews

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

In the previous issue

Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...

Coming Soon

An interview with Nate Chinen, director of editorial content at WBGO Radio, former New York Times jazz writer, and the author of Playing Changes: Jazz in the New Century.

Contributing writers

Site Archive