Girl singing. Day. Dave Brubeck
on stage. White linen blazer. White
hair. Regaling the audience with a tale.
Fireflies dancing in his eyes.
His wife was clearing the sun porch for visitors:
“children, grand-children and great-grandchildren”—
with a smile proclaimed with utmost pride!
Girl singing. Day. “We needed all
the beds and all the floor space
we could muster,” announced The Father
of West Coast Cool. Mrs. Brubeck
stumbled across an old manuscript,
brought it to him and asked, “What
do you think this is?” He scanned
the faded notes, played them on the piano
then unequivocally proclaimed with glee:
“I don’t know what it is but it’s damn
good.” Mr. Brubeck decided to finish
the old tune. Girl singing. Day.
As his wife continued to clear the porch
she found the song’s second half
from years ago. But Mr. Brubeck preferred
his new conclusion. To everyone’s delight,
his choice was proven right when
he and his trio performed “The Time of Our
Madness”—Randy Jones on drums, Jack
Six on string bass, Bobby Militello on saxophone
and Girl singing. Day. Sometimes, the perfect
pitch needs time. Like bottles of champagne
rotated in their racks, inch by inch
meticulously for months. Or cabernet settling
in oak barrels buried in underground caves.
Like basting Thanksgiving turkey for twelve
hours straight. Time passing. Girl singing.
Day. Like Mr. Brubeck’s turn to music
only after studying pre-med to heal cattle
as a vet. Oh! These long, long days for
Heaven nearer than a breath away.
—from FOOTNOTES TO ALGEBRA: Uncollected Poems 1995-2009 (BlazeVox Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2009). http://www.blazevox.org/bk-et2.htm
© Eileen R. Tabios