JAZZ POETRY #10--Lisel Mueller

Well it's been a while, but here is #10 in the Jazz Poetry Series.

JANUARY AFTERNOON, WITH BILLIE HOLIDAY

For Studs Terkel Her voice shifts as if it were light, from chalk to parchment to oil. I think of the sun this morning, how many knives were flashed through black, compliant trees; now she has aged it with her singing, turned it to milk thinned with water, a poor people’s sun, enough knowledge to go around. I want to dance, to bend as gradually as a flower, release a ball in slow motion to follow in the marvelous path of an unfolding jet streak, love’s expansive finger across the cheek of the sky, “Heaven, I’m in heaven…” The foolish old songs were right, the heart does, actually, ache from trying to push beyond itself, this room, the world, all that can be imagined; space is not enough space for its sudden immensity … I am not what you think This is not what I wanted Desire has no object, it simply happens, rises and floats, lighter than air- but she knows that. Her voice scrapes against the innocent words of the song; tomorrow is something she remembers.

—Lisel Mueller

#jazzpoetry #ladyday #poem #poet #billieholiday

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