For Jazz

                Dexter Gordon

‘A country dance was being held in a garden’ —
This lyric slowly rumbled in the microphone
To the festival crowd among the olive trees.
Playing the song, the sound would flatten out or harden,
And afterwards he’d elevate the saxophone
Like a sacred host, mocking these ceremonies,
Or maybe burlesquing the whole tired schmeer
of Europe, and playing jazz, and being here.
Then the giant wakes. The phrases stride
and bite, what seemed uncertainty forgotten.
But this belated turbulence will not subdue
The sense of Dexter standing slightly to one side
While we others try to read an irony begotten
Somewhere between here and Central Avenue.