Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ghosts (for Albert Ayler)

I've been stumbling across Albert Ayler's name a lot lately. Here's a poem I wrote about him (sort of) a few years back; it was in the first issue of Monday Night.

Ghosts (for Albert Ayler)

They found Albert Ayler
dead in the East River
his feet tied together

So, who the fuck
puts a hit on a saxman?
He must’ve had bad habits,
because genius is not
a thing men get killed for,
or we’d have heard by now
how Einstein ducked assassins’ bullets.
Then again
maybe he was a threat
only to other scientists
And maybe they killed him
Secretly, slowly,
Taking so long that no one suspected;
And maybe Ayler was murdered
by another saxophonist
jealous of the honking squawks
the anguished wails
the misery embodied in solos
that cried out
for an afterlife now
Or maybe it was suicide
and he wove the ropes around himself
with the same dark magic that forced
taut yowls from the depths
where his breath searched for a soul
Maybe Ayler couldn’t stand
to play another haunted

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