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Birth of the Cool

ISSUE:  Spring 2019


It must be so hard to be Miles Davis
and a ghost, and to sit in my kitchen
as I squeal along on a dime-store horn

to one of his greatest tracks, “Venus de Milo” (1957),
on a rainy Saturday in Obscurity, USA,
percussed by a high metal trickle in the downspout

and the orgasmic sighs of the coffeepot,
in the too-bright interior light.
(I’ve gotta, gotta, gotta get a dimmer.)

The dogs snooze on the sofa like session drummers.
Like hipsters, the houseplants wait for whatever.
Miles and I only jammed in my dreams,

but once, on a stoned sojourn to see the Pacific 
in a borrowed Saab in 1983
with an aspiring physicist named Maureen,

Birth of the Cool changed who I would be.
(Maureen, where have you gone in like forever?)
Even in my dreams, Miles never turns around

(the music, man, the music),
and I understand, my back to everyone—
but a different life alone, this one, mine.

Now we’re in Sketches of Spain:
time hits shuffle,
and Bella the dog yips with a skip in her sleep

as Miles gets it right again, how the sliding
drops on the windowpane
in me feel.



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