“Planet Braxton” — a poem by Mark Kerstetter

September 19th, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Planet Braxton
for Anthony Braxton

 

Jump or Die

Time is all time
for the player in cosmic space.
Undo the bolts & let fly
or jump back in the box
and die.
These are your reality implications
on any day of earth-clinging.
But as to the progressive continuance
of organic life on this orb,
creative vitality must dance
with the constant embrace
of unique experience—
consciousness of the now
in all time.

All the Way Up and All the Way Down

It’s a vibrational liquid, man.
All the way up and all the way down.
Sound sexual? It is.
It’s total physical involvement
all-at-once, it’s music
in mind shapes.
But you need clear round spectacles
for this one,
not cool nightshades.
This kind of cool has eyes open,
hits the books
only to write its own
so that those reading (and listening
and looking) can and will
write their own.

AS17—148—22727

It wasn’t the first
—that was by satellite in 1959—
and it wasn’t the first on the mission
—a similar take came moments before—
but it’s the take that took hold on terra firma
after Cernan, Evans and Schmitt in orbit
became The Blue Marble Trio.

Here’s my bright idea:
humanity turned 17 that day,
awake and rubbing childhood
out of dreaming eyes.
I want to walk in the wake
of the brightest child eyes,
add my link and rub away.

Dreaming is fine
but there are thinkable thoughts.
So think, boy!

Let’s Sing the Planet Electric

Fit to swing according to human and temporal laws,
as a box spilled of its notes written from the left
hand to the right and in that crossing
over comes to rest on the vibrating chest:

A casket swaying slightly on its ropes
lowered into the welcoming soil.

It’s the end of a way of life,
especially for those who go on living that way,
swinging like the hanging jaw
of a grinning skull, mouthing by rote,
If it ain’t got swing, what does it mean?

Well friend, it ain’t jazz if only hip historians
should do the work due to the risk of shock
attendant upon the flouting of codifications.

Those who want music with a future
will write laws that foster the new life,
unpack history for a restructure,
hold firm the form and sing
the planet electric.

 

_____

 

 

 

Mark Kerstetter makes his home in St. Petersburg, Florida where he is restoring an old house out of wood salvaged from demolition sites. A two-time award winner for drawing and painting at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, his current focus is on creative writing. A winner of the Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award and a Pushcart nominee for poetry, Mark is the former poetry editor of the online arts magazine Escape Into Life and the author of The Mockingbird Sings blog. His chapbook of poems, “One Step: prayers and curses” was published in 2017 by Atomic Theory Micro Press.

 

*

 

 

Share this:

Comment on this article:

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

In this Issue

Art by Russell Dupont
Twenty-eight poets contribute 37 poems to the Jerry Jazz Musician Fall Poetry Collection, living proof that the energy and spirit of jazz is alive — and quite well.

Short Fiction

Photo/CC0 Public Doman
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #52 — “Random Blonde,” by Zandra Renwick

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

Essay

photo of Esbjorn Svensson Trio/Pkobel/Creative Commons
“The Trio That Should Have Reshaped Jazz” — an essay by Scott Archer Jones

Photography

Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light” — photos (and stories) of Mal Waldron, Jackie McLean and Joe Henderson

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

"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

"Jazz Samba"/Verve Records
In this edition, excerpted from Michael Jarrett's Pressed For All Time, legendary producer Creed Taylor remembers the 1962 Stan Getz recording, Jazz Samba

Interview

Photographer Carol Friedman
In an entertaining conversation that also features a large volume of her famous photography, Carol Friedman discusses her lifelong work of distinction in the world of jazz photography

Art

"Dreaming of Bird at Billy Bergs" - by Charles Ingham
“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Poetry

Painting of John Coltrane by Tim Hussey
“broken embouchure” — a poem by M.T. Whitington

Interviews

photo by Francis Wolff, courtesy of Mosaic Records
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Poetry

photo from Pixabay
“The Fibonacci Quartet Plays Improv” — a poem by Gerard Furey

Short Fiction

photo/Creative Commons CC0.
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, contributes a humorous short story, "Father Kniest: Jazz Priest"

In the Previous Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“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…

Contributing writers

Site Archive