Ken Bolton: poem: Luminous hum

Ken Bolton: Luminous Hum

Because of the many unusual line indents in this poem, we recommend that you choose to view it on a wide desktop screen, if possible.

Maybe
               After all these years  it turns out
I’m some sort of ‘Art Brut’ type

                                —  in fact an outsider 
                                                               artist

Peculiarly focused on the idea 
                                                   Of being cool

my idea of which (naively)
                                             is the New York School
                                                                           #
                                                                                       (joke?
                                                #
‘on me’)

                   why — tho I have the fee —
                                             they’d never have me
I’d of course pay Ted
                                   I took them ‘seriously’ (?)
                                                              or ‘too’ seriously ?
The art world
                              —  I tell Grogan

                                                       whoever —

                       gives the art world too much credit
it wasn’t Anton’s gig

(You don’t know him, Ross?
                                                     six four
weighs about 70 k
                                           Blond
As I am blond

                             blonder!

                                                        rather Eton —
                                                            Oxford —
                                               Wilfred Owen)

The bass players …
                                  they do that thing
                                                                     seen
in the credits, once, every week
                                        in the Gomer Pyle show
of playing catch-up   —    the
                                                      quick
½ step brings you back with the others
left right

Flying High
                          (was a movie) 
                                                         (I know)
?‘Flying Home’  might have been the jazz standard —
of around 1950,
                           1940?
                                 not so much a standard
who plays it now?
                                but a kind of hit  
                                                               &
fodder for bands to process
                                                                tho
                                                   … I think I like it,
                                                               I think

No idea of it now

                                                    two second-order bands
                                                                   of that era
                                                                       play it

                                                             (on a CD I have)

on a joint gig
                           something they could agree to do
                                                                together

I’m flying on,
                —  maintaining altitude —

on 4 or 5 short blacks & as many retsina chasers
                                            #
the jazz, then, is some Coltrane — Coltrane ‘live’ in Europe,
courtesy of Crab —
                                      right at the moment
                                                                      playing
(not Crab —  Coltrane
                                   tho Crab could ‘as easily’
be playing it
                           strange thought
                                                                in the suburbs
                                                             on his saxophone
                                                                  in Dulwich

                                                                             ‘Bye-
Bye Blackbird’
                               tamer 
                             than the 
                      ‘Village Vanguard’
                                  or 
                      ‘wherever’ version 
                               I have & 
                            usually play.
                                                          :  ’Live
in Europe’
                        it occurs to me, is a very
                                                         North American
locution,
                       like  ’It was raining in America’
                                                                     was European

                                                                         —  (Which
journalist tried that?
                                      My sympathy, pal) —
                                                                           An
American locution itself  (‘Pal’).

                                   #
                              ‘Live’.
                                   #

                                   Where in Europe —  Spain?
the Netherlands?
                                 Paris?
                                                         Anyway, the 
bass is very comforting
                                           The thing I love about
the Bye-Bye gig
                           — ‘his greatest concert performance’
                                               is the subtitle :  I can’t find
the booklet
                      where it says, probably, ‘where’ it is

— Vanguard,
                          5 Spot   (did he record there, ever?
too early, too late, too hostile, too…)
                                                            Birdland? —

it’s surely in summer, a fairly hot night (?)
euphoric is the word I always want to reach for
the sense of release, potted palms, the urge to drink
take drugs, breathe in know that you’re alive
& others, other constituents — the moon, probably, 
somewhere visible
                                                   offering
                                                                encouragement

Granpa Simpson
                            — a novelty, benign, ‘Granpa Simpson’ cork

is stuck in my bottle
                                        keeping the last glass of
                                                            retsina
fresh
                       #
                   Must get ice.
                                              ( Gets ice. )
                                                            #
                                                                   The band
is now  Chasin the Trane
                                                          Coltrane 
                                                                  sounding
both ‘elixir-happy’ & ‘effortful’  &  THE DRUMMING
                                            IS FANTASTIC :  Elvin

                                                                  Elvin!

                                      it is great the way art
                                      hands this sort of thing
                                       on
                                                        #
                                                even poetry
                                                          #
                                                                           For more 
                                                                                people, 
                                                                              tho,
music must do it.

I’m with them.
                                             You people,

                                                                           don’t be so
                                                                           stand-offish

I’m clearly drunk?
                                      Clearly ?
                                                            Drink up then.

Tho it isn’t so — I’m not
                                           Tho the spirit
                                                                      —  the spirits

                                                                           of   the great dead
watch over me
                              & laugh
                                                          or nod
                                                                           (they’re
not entirely against)
                                           :  Philip Whalen,
                                                                               Ted,
Larkin
                     YIKE!
                                               Dame Edith Sitwell

                                                                          —  Go To Bed (!)

John Forbes

John, how funny how appropriate how
                                                              ironic
but in any case  John!  how are you
                                                             it’s your line
                                                              of course
you saluted ’their luminous hum’

                                             I don’t believe there
                                                                         Is anything
after death
                            Which doesn’t preclude, I guess,
                                                   that there should be

This urge
                         a sort of Willed Short Circuit
    where the present winds the past forward
                                                                    to talk to it
                                           #
                                 solace
                                  #
               ’if you insist on doing that you’ll tangle the
                                                                      hose
&  have to come back to it  iron out the kinks’

— an image this from my watering.  
                                                                 John,
You were so un-suburban (as I imagine you)
You were never very thoughtless.
                   Can I see you standing, holding a hose?
                                                                    Thoughtless thought.
                                                                  Maybe you did.
Is it such a joy?    your ‘speed’??    Speed was
more your speed.   Ha ha.
                                                But I don’t say that
laughing at you : you did what you did & I liked
                                                                       you.
Do the dead ’hum’, ’luminously’?

                                                                Last week
they celebrated the anniversary of your death
commemorated the death / 
                                             celebrated the poems, you.
                          Predictable?  
                                                                A good
turnout —
                   the young were there in force, the old
(people your age if you’d hung on
                                                          
John Forbes at 58

                                   No doubt you’d have carried it
off)
                   all there.

                                     Some Japanese people down the front …
                                                                                      ‘curiously’.
                    — the kind of ’curious’ you’d have
                                                                   applauded
                                                            as a detail —
a further guarantee of your future
                                                 you who have none
                                                                   who
don’t exist.
                       I cling on
                                             —  & remember you —
tenaciously
                     — what, ’cling’?  ’remember’?
                                                                            cling:
I remember okay
                                In fact I don’t even ‘cling’
                                                    tenaciously  (‘   ’?)

but swing & sway here   from my branch,
                                                                       a
happy sloth
                                 while Charlie Parker, Coltrane,
                                             Art Pepper, Art
                                                                Blakey
Pepper Adams
                             play
                                             Tho it could just as easily be

? & the Mysterions

                                         remember them,  or
                                                      Thane
                                                       Russall
‘& Three’

               Voom-voom  voom-voom, voom-voom  voom-vcoom Voom

‘I want s-e-c-u-r-i-t-y!’
                                                   ha ha

                                                                      It is
                                                     permitted
                                                                        to laugh?
Pal?
                  ( a thread I forgot )

                                                         Finally
I recognise this track —  it is ’My Old Flame’

The album
                    — (I think Crabby made this tape

thank you, Crab
                               —  my pal —
                                                        my old pal) —
it’s not listed on the cover, it just says
                                                       Conception
               #
Not one I know
            #
                                 I know enough to put
                                             ice in this glass —

Phil,  Ted?
                       Edith!
                                             ’go to bed’

which I take to be their luminous numinous
                                       humorous hum

Schuyler, 
               Frank, 
                              Joe  …  are up there too,  an
                                             unlikely scenario

                                  Auden, I suppose
                                  would give me
                                  some kind of talking to

                              #

I’ll go I think & find my sandals   hose the
bamboo quietly
                                  go to bed

                                               #

                                                          Cath’s away —
Anna & Chris down the back.
                                                   Pola / has disappeared
to be with them & share the air-conditioner.

                                                               Will
jazz make me cool?  
                                        Phil ??

will Joey Ramone?

The ‘Conception’ stuff sounds straighter.

Tho was Coltrane ever straight?
                                                      That was
Miles’ problem 
                           —  ‘with’ him —
                                                            & Miles’
problem later

this track too sounds like ‘My Old Flame’
transposed
                         weirded
                                               made strange

strangely freighted
                                       with a more abstract
foreboding
                           or a withholding of trust

it has none of the original’s reassurance
more the recollection of the old flame’s    
                                             unreliability

                                    #

shit, how ‘mature’
                                        at this hour of the night

                                         #

                                                               will
my spirits recover

                                      John, my guardian angel,
what a funny idea
                                     who would Wim Wenders get
to play you?   You’d say ’Yeah, he’ll recover’ —
                                      referring to me —
speaking from experience

                                             #

                                  I tend to see everyone
as more serious than me
                                             tho they can’t all be —
or I’d take them more seriously

                                                  #

                                                        ’See, that’s
what I mean!’  you say   to Ted, Whalen, Joe —
‘he’ll be okay.’

                              John, thank you.

                                                            Grace to be awake
& stay awake
                        as long as possible!

Will I sleep the sleep of the dead, now, luminously?

                               Grace to be awake

                          That will be my endeavor
                          & tomorrow  ’Ring Crab’!

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