On first looking into Adorno’s Jazz

On first looking into Adorno’s Jazz


The man lived through the passage of phrases

monastic intensity coupled with mindful pleasures

aesthetic concerns triumphant as a whip crack

it’s crucial to make certain playback is accurate

vital to know that one’s own concerns are met

impossible to write

poetry after death camps.


The world yes

the mélange of real and symbol and whim

the ‘world’

is surely – his world – surely dead.

So no

there is no

system that permits one to accept

two dirty notes as the new

and no fair trade

pan flute for a snare drum

smudge chords as you play

and welcome barbarism?

Music is too important to be left   —   far too imperative to be right.


Who was this hoodoo man

this voodoo princeling

this old bourgeois Marxian

this brilliant inheritor of German

musical economy

political psychology?


But Teddy there was tone

and melody

and structure

              and time that would not submit

to 12-toned angels.


your knowledge and that jazz:


ColtraneDavis  //  EllingtonBasie  //  ParkerDizzy


You should have let the Angel play her game with history

in the mood for love

after kulture got gang-raped and gunned down

April in Paris

shaved heads and complicity

my melancholy …

so blown and squeezed into soft atonal slaps.


Herr Doctor all is forgiven in the text

and wrong on one score old sir

we can let that page blaze

and listen still in sore and torn amaze,


Published in Rampike Vol 16#1 (Conceptualisms Issue)