Four Poems in Which

In Which We Scat, Tra-La, the Last Vibrato Of A Single String

We walk through the hum of the summer
young on the Spanish Steps, seemingly
unscathed, on our way to another night
of all that jazz. The rose-sellers grow
darker by the day and the roses more –
unreal. Upstairs, the microphone’s aimed
at the bass’s waist, her nifty clef.

The room is hot, the prosecco cheap. But
you’re a bad jazz-club clapper (yeh)
(the wrong offbeat)
and the tromp l’oeil library
wallpaper won’t rescue us now.
Shirrrrr, says the percussionist, shirrr tik-tik,
Shirrrrr, a-dikadikdik-aaaaa, to a dying fall.

In Which You (Too) Could Give a Hoot

Another day, another fugue. Isadora dances
only fleetingly on film. The myth intact.
Not every princess feels the pea.
This very randomness is why it is so precious
and so easy to lose track. You bet.
Innittowinit. Towittowoo. Whoo. Who – ?
Wisdom’s not the same as photographic memory.

In Which, Dear Posthumus –

Dear Posthumus, born without a father on this earth,
was that a blessing or a curse,
do you suppose? I surmise, from reports of character,
that what you got was not a tragedy,
but a reprieve. Kick against the pricks, cack-handed
Providence, you will. But calma ti, run to Mummy
for a kiss-it-better-now; Momma will wait just here until it’s time.

In Which, More Jazz

You can drown in the black lakes of piano lids.
I know. Grand Rapids, down in one.
Dying Falls, Niagara-style, a barrel of laughs until
it’s your turn, luv. Ooo. Who knew?
You thought, like age, it only happened to the careless
ones. You’ll still be working on that riff, the great improv,
when push, my daring darling, comes to shove.

Isobel Dixon


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