Literature » Poetry

“Listening to Charlie Parker, Play Jazz, In the Dark” — a poem by Alan Yount

photo from VinylGif




Listening to Charlie Parker, Play Jazz, In the Dark
     For Charlie Parker with Strings


charlie parker
sits on the end
of my bed
holding his alto sax.

and for pete’s sake!  mr. traps:
buddy rich was also there,  
getting his drum kit ready
by the end of the bed.

then ray brown’s there
and making a move
to pick up my old kay bass
with birds eye maple!

and somehow the violins
have snuck in by the door
followed closely
by mitch miller on oboe.

… an oboe has an estranged sound.
(the word oboe … almost sounds
like the sound, when it’s playing),
but it definitely works itself in.




I imagine I can still see
charlie parker “the bird.”
… nodding to him
he gets ready for “just friends.”

the strings start up:
they have an incredible fluidity,
and the sounds
float up in the room.

the violins
lifted up everything
and “the bird,” was wonderful …
and flew up there too.

I had been dozing off
but then I remembered surely
that I did not play alto sax
as clearly as I was playing it now.




listening to jazz
in the dark at night
there’s a different dimension
bringing together all the notes …

so much closer
and closer.

and then all of a sudden

you … are … there!

playing along

with all of them.









Alan Yount lives on the north bank of the Missouri River, just south of Columbia, Missouri, and has taken poetic inspiration from boating and floating the river for many years. His poems have been published in a variety of publications, including Palo Alto Review, Roanoke Review, Spring…the Journal of E.E. Cummings Society, Apostrophe Magazine, Columbia College Journal of the Literary Arts, Modern Haiku, Pegasus Review, and Tidepool Magazine. Alan also plays jazz trumpet, and has led his own dance band. He is a direct descendant of the famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone.