Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Excerpt from Truth or Dare

"Aborted Jazz"

Jazz was out of style in 2009. Jack knew it but he went to listen to it anyway. Jazz was beautiful. It still is beautiful. Jack knew this. He climbed the stairs to the rooftop of American Apparel and listened to the sweet sax blowin away to the accompaniment of two drummers, one alternate percussion as well but really he was one of the original two drummers aforementioned. Jack looked overheard and was surprised to see a gray sky forewarning of a thunderstorm, but everybody knew an overcast was the perfect accompaniment for depressed jazz.

And so on top of the roof he went, sitting with his rounded sunglasses pulled right in front of his eyes and his hat pulled down low smoking a cigarette and putting one leg for his chin to rest on with short cropped blondish hair covering just above his eyes like an angel’s kiss. Note after note Jack sat and just listened, free from the Hyrda of language guarded by Rich’s bet and the standards of human sociability. He thought about human communication and how the notes were almost like whalesong in their purity and constantly changing spontaneity. Their tonalities pumping with the spark of life given to them by their creator which flowed like blood from a wound with too much to say, too much to bleed, and yet through this holy union Jack found beauty in the verbal silence, preferring to let the outdated yet welcomed shouts by the drummers of “Go!” and “HAHA YEAH!” do the talking while he simply let his body move to the beat, to the spasms of notes that followed in between the samba, almost Latin beats. “Granted talking is useful sometimes, but must I always use it in lieu of just feeling life?” A perennial thinker, Jack found himself now like he did often, stuck in thoughts and bogged down by the multitude of ideas he had to ponder about, yet with this thought about “feeling life” he did not feel dragged down by the syllabic metering Richard had fed him with, he’d hardly ever THOUGHT about syllabic content before this day but he knew he’d never forget. He also knew that he could stay where we was forever, eternally smoking a Natural Sherman stick with his right hand while his left hand darted and bobbed around on the cold, metal table he laid his arms upon, his alien hand to the left indulging in crazy, tribal swoops to the melody’s solo on the alto sax, wondering why this kind of thing never failed to cheer him up. “Well, it doesn’t cheer me up,” he thought, quickly adding out-loud with the careful planning of a precocious child wanting to seem smart in front of his parents or at least himself, “But it does make me think about if there’s something past all the slick bullshit.” Jack knew that the music wouldn’t cure his troubled head, and he knew that he’d go on worrying about the thoughts of leaving and the thoughts of dying that were ever-present in his speech and writing these days, but the primal motion exhibited by the soaring jazz took him higher than he’d ever been on weed or coke, sailing him straight into the sky towards the sun where he dreamed of Icarus Wings to take him towards the sun, just so he could feel its warm touch once before he died. Was it cold? Was the sun too hot to be anything but a freezing burn? It didn’t matter now, because Jack had things to do, people to talk to, and syllabic phrases to count.

Listening to the brass, cool and regal to his ears as if played by some royal band for the coming of their King, Jack began to listen to what the sax was saying, “Hey beat notes oh! I’m feeling good love happiness its all major key’s got” carefully counting out 19 notes almost intuitively in his head, preparing to partake in the dialogue that had been initiated to him. He let the words form at the tip of his tongue salivating them out, allowing for his verbalized chains to spill out slowly at first, but steadily listened to himself speak quicker and more sporadic as if improvisation from a horn. “Yeah yeah I get what you mean, sax, you really get me, its so beautiful.” Jack began to wonder if he was crazy. His absolute refusal to relent to the bet was more a matter of principle, as an exploration of the English language he’d learned to take for granted with no care for what emitted from his mouth, de la boca...He wished right now he could just conjure up a fury of sounds, fiercely piercing the night sky like a saxophone. Yet he loved the English language. Maybe he could go without speaking it, but he certainly could not go without writing it, creating it, manipulating it in order to believe in it. “This was all a test” he thought to himself, “ a labor of Herakles, a temptation of Jesus” realizing he could never give up his faith in the language he grew up on, he would not believe that writing failed as an art form, a form of communication. To spin words on a page was to turn notes in a sax, precise but wildly independent as well. Jack slapped a five dollar bill on the table the percussionist had been keeping his ashtray and slipped into the night, still reluctant to speak out loud but with a reaffirmation of faith for his craft, a reaffirmation that he knew would translucently escape everyone he told, his test of faith a mere ghost to the times he lived in. It was something he casually accepted as he walked towards the bus headed home.

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