Wednesday, February 11th, Cafe 939, 8 PM
THE TEST OF THE BOWRemembering Michael ColemanBefore he faced the suitors in the hall,He proved himself by plucking high-strung gutUntil it hummed a single note. So pureIt sang-a ringing, feathered bolt of sound-That even brazen bucks (their noisy brawlAn antidote for doubt) fell still; aroundThe walls skirts quivered for the first strong cut,The larksome thrill of severed air.So sure,Then, one man stood above this throng, elbowArced, fingers poised to throw them into thrall.What goddess nodded portent from the door?He bowed toward his muse, that blood should flow:Brash bodies moved, then shoved to fill the floor.He proved himself the master of them all.
SERGE CHALOFFHarnessed, yoked, reined in:for months, head hung low,body hitched to pain, anvil-dense, I pitied myself . . .a horse tethered to a blockof forge-wrought iron flungfrom a wagon’s rickety bed.How we pull our own weight.*Or how it pulls us: last week,that photo of a firemanwrestling with a writhinghydranted hose, a one-headedHydra gushing spasmodic gaspstoward the imminent collapseof all that should not fall. . . .But does. Body and soul.*Body and Soul. A blue surgeof song. Baritone sax.A stooped shouldering of notesfrom the smoldering reed-roughdepths of a Herculean horn . . .its swelling bell, its brass-blinkered pads, its serpent’sneck coiled back upon itself.*How we bear our burdens.Steeped in dying, the tumoron his spine a leaden mass, he cuthis final vinyl wheelchair-bound.How he purged himself, blowingsinuous riff-rich lines . . .Blue Serge. Then “Dead at 33,”the morning papers read.