By: Ben Slackenov
March 29, 2003

John Coltrane is my self-absorbed lonely-man’s music
i hear perfection in every note
Because John never had to impress anybody
But himself

These are the days that men are forgiven their mistakes
The misfortunes of their politics,
Religious conflicts,
Self elevated status

The saxophone haunts me
It is so loud and individually unique
John wrestles with the lines
He torments the keys of his instrument
He pounds at the notes through his lungs and
Subdues the wild humanity lost during the day
Something elevated
Something more than one man playing a sax
Something more than what the world has become
And yet
His effort haunts me

Elvin’s cymbals are along for the ride
Back and forth his sticks swinging casually across the metal surfaces
Time is everything
The snare breaks in
Some toms roll by
All the time the cymbals sneaking in their structure
Holding on sanity

McCoy plays his keys like Elvin’s toms
The ivories roll in and roll back out
Each note making a statement to the next
They continue past a quick flurry of toms
Creating a be-bop, foot-taping arrangement of their own
One hand plodding out a sophisticated rhythm
While the other taps and bounces across each note
Like a ballet dancer
In love with her teacher
Giving him a perfect, well rehearsed, but impressive performance

Solid bass
The perfect period
Dots where they belong
Jimmy knows when to let the string go
No jerking-off here
Warm deep wood moving the bitch
Just enough playing to keep things interesting
And hold her down
Between the beats
On the piano

i still hear John like a determined ghost
Breathing through his reed
Each note alone
Searching for more than perfection
Searching for the same thing that i am
Something beyond the grave
That will haunt me
Till I die

xxxxxWhen people read words, they make a choice based on their own experience as
to what they want to visualize in their own minds. If a person visualizes something that
angers, saddens, or creates negative feelings in his or her mind, that person may want to look
back on the experiences acquired during his or her life and ask, “Why am I seeing these
things?” I know that I experience more than what can be seen when I read words. I am
able to hear the music and distinguish its movement through time, mind and body. If a
person should experience something which moves the soul to evil that is not related to the
music, that person should stop, listen and make different choices. People make the
decisions about what goes on in their own minds. Poets write words to free people from
the world that contains them.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxBen Slackenov

xxxxxA man who suffers for something is not a man who suffers for nothing.
Keep the words flowing Ben.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTheodore Haze

"Ben's Jazz Poems"