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Sample Poetry by Mark Belair

From "Staying In"

I imagine
I remember

with my dented sticks

in the air
above my bed

while on my back humming
John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme."

I reach the end of "Acknowledgement,"
scat the bass solo into the next movement,

then sing the exalted, soul-lifting melody of "Resolution"
when my clock-radio alarm buzzes.

I tap it
off with a stick.

Next to the clock-radio sit my record player, padded headphones, and
a stack of jazz albums-Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans.

On a wall across my bedroom
hang framed photographs of jazz drummers:

Tony Williams, cool and intelligent, his drumsticks blurred;
Art Blakey sitting straight up, sweat-beaded and grinning;

Max Roach, brushes whispering across his snare drum, his head
turned thoughtfully to the side;

and, surrounded by bright cymbals and dark tom-toms,
his brow knitted, Coltrane's drummer, Elvin Jones.

I look from one drummer to the next, each
caught in a style-defining moment of musical glory.

Then I look back to my clock-radio-5:45-
and, with a sigh, park my sticks.