[Poetry]: Jay Scrivner

by Jay Scrivner
[Poetry]: Jay Scrivner
Jay Scrivner
African American Review
Start Page: 
End Page: 
Select license: 
Select License

Jay Scrivner received an M.F.A. from the University of Washington. His poetry has appeared in Poetry Northwest and Denver Quarterly.

Suasive Tuesday

Someone told me soft endings lead nowhere
Very particular,
Lead more to palace like spaces where dogs bark
Unheard than to a hut
Set amidst the fields where folks still do chores,
Keeping quiet, knowing the arc
Of speech burns precious daylight.

When someone calls these endings feminine,
I think jazz musicians,
Who start to play the notes until a field,
A song's range, appears, then turn their backs
Or close their eyes on what notes got written
To play in space left untilled,
Care if we lose their tracks.

To know where we find ourselves round midnight,
If we see without sight,
Helps the music lead us past our concerns.

Somehow time does not let their endings end
Up as a frame of mind,
Denoting doubt, thrust back upon the female
As parts of speech, usually adjectives,
Some big daddy thought wrongly might resound
Over all like an umbrella
Blocking out what's indecisive.

It is only after the fact the critic
Tells us this or that
Meant here or there to him; how, when it did
That, these got misplaced, those came undone.
Where he sticks the need to assert the facts,
The claims gather around should,
Everyone held now by been,

When being is what I care most about,
Even if I must shout
Over the din of the wise who say

African American Review, Volume 31, Number 1
O 1997 Jay Scrivner

My example of improvisation
On one hand and jazz on another cannot
Free me from the tyranny
Of words which keep me sane.

What about Nina Simone's first paid solo,
The six hours the piano
At the Mid-Town Bar and Grill slipped between
Czerny, Liszt, and the notes she arranged
Out of the blue to shape time into halos
Of sound I like to imagine
But would not claim to hold.

Someone still tries to get the notes on paper,
Shows up early, decked out and too uptight.
No one pays him attention.
He records only air.

What about how sometimes you must put down
A pan to pick up the phone,
And your kid or a friend needs a ride.
And one thing leads to the next, you think,
As your car radio finds a tune
From "Live at the It Club"
By Thelonius Monk.

Marvelous when the music forms in the air
Pergolas full of color
That knock down the walls before they get described,
Where light is the sound of sight and sways
A canvas lull into a tear drop deck chair,
Sunk full, while you decide
How much a star might weigh.

I think I'll linger around a while longer
Than I can remember
To see if what spins out of the orbit
Of notes will help. There will be ground enough
To walk on where it comes together,
Somewhere to stretch the feet
And be beyond belief.

  • Recommend Us