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Gerald Locklin


the 7:00 performance
of the danilo perez trio
at the “bakery”
is delayed an hour and a half
because the sound man
hasn’t showed up.
the old guy in charge
keeps putting us off with
temporary assurances
like the airlines do.
the trio refuses to play unamplified
although there are only about 30 of us
who have braved la niña’s chill
on a weekday evening,
and no one will take the responsibility
of plugging three amps into
piano, bass, and drums.

so i’m pissed off at everyone.

until the young sound guy arrives,
apologizing that he overslept
trying to catch a few winks
between this gig and his part-time
job teaching english at a junior college.

and perez turns out to be
a charming, unaffected sort of guy,
making gentle musical jokes
at the expense of the belated sound man
and introducing his sidemen,
john benitez and antonio sanchez,
with genuine appreciation of their skills,

then attacking his instrument
in such a way as to remind me of
what i once heard wynton marsalis say,

that with classical music
you play what the composer wrote,

but in jazz
you play yourself.

¤ ¤ ¤


i overhear one of my students
telling someone that he’s cross-training
in preparation for the running of a marathon,

and i blurt out that in my younger days
i used to consider it cross-training
to lift my vodka-tonics to my lips
with my left hand.

¤ ¤ ¤


aristotle said,
“all men, by nature,
have the desire to know,”

but an occasional student
still proves him fallible.

¤ ¤ ¤

(for jason pickard)

aristotle placed only metaphysics
as prior in philosophical inquiry
to ethics.

i guess he felt that
you gotta be
before you can be bad.

¤ ¤ ¤


i’m reading this novel, morvern callar,
by the young scottish writer, alan warner,
and it permits me entrance,
via her demotic/eclectic monologue,
into the consciousness of a young woman
of the “rave” generation,
her silence,
her anonymous sexuality,
her oneness,
via psychedelic chemicals, music, ambiance,
with nature, the universe, ecstasy.

and it scares the shit out of me;
it would most parents.

and i’ve had enough experience with alcohol
to know the pitfalls
of mind-altering substances,

but i cease to judge this girl
because i can begin to sense
the allure of this pleasure state,
the utter simplicity
of such a fullness of being--

i can even imagine myself opting for it,
cleaning out the savings account and
flying off to, say, the costa brava,
to live out my life that way,
to end my life that way,

if it weren’t that i have
children and grandchildren,

and as a matter of fact that’s what
brings the girl of the novel
back to her impoverished scottish past--
she becomes pregnant--

because you only cease to be a child
once you have a child.

Copyright 1999 by Gerald Locklin

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