By Robert Pinsky

Featured Image: Music by Thomas Wilmer Dewing 1895

This is the golden trophy. The true addiction. 
Steel springs, pearl facings, fibers and leathers, all
Mounted on the body tarnished from neck to bell.

The master, a Legend, a “righteous addict,” pauses
While walking past a bar, to listen, says: Listen—
Listen what that cat in there is doing. Some figure,

Some hook, breathy honk, sharp nine or weird
Rhythm this one hack journeyman hornman had going
Listen, says the Dante of bop, to what he’s working.

Breath tempered in its chamber by hide pads
As desires and demands swarm through the deft axe
In the fixed attention of that one practitioner:

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Piano Lesson

By Gregory Djanikian

Featured Image: Ella at the Piano by Donald Shaw MacLaughlan 1876

My teacher is looking at me sadly
as if with the large droopy eyes 
of a basset hound.

I’m stumbling through “Naima”
transcribed for piano,
my fingers tripping badly over
the minor 3rds, the flat nines.

On his face, such longing,
as if it’s the end of jazz,
we’re saying farewell.

I’m ready to start from the top 
playing all the changes, the repeats,
and he’s holding his head in his hands,
swiveling slowly in his chair.

The song is full of smoke and aching,
like a woman in a shiny dress
walking through a dark hallway
haunting the man she’s loved.

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