Craig Morgan Teicher

POETRY-January + February 2012
Poem by Craig Morgan Teicher
Edited by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc
Artwork by Spenser MacLeod


It’s not the idea of collective improvisation I like,

not the show of instrumental virtuosity,

not the hipster life. And jazz isn’t my history.

No, when the tune is really going, when horns spike,

dip into and slice the melody, when the drums

kick the rhythm deep and the bass is walking

and you hear the wooden click before the E-string thrums,

I love that, without any words, these people are talking

like they can say exactly what they mean

because they never have to say it.

Rather than labor to construct a sentence, they play it.

How fun! O, to play the piano, to let my thoughts careen

instead of getting stalled in speech. Talking takes so long

and never helps. I wish Brenda and I could fight in song.




Artwork: Magic Men, 2011, watercolor and pen on paper, 7 x 11″


Spenser Macleod on Magic Men: “When reading this poem, I instantly got visuals of a 1950s jazz pub—when the rhythm of the bass flows through your body, there are no words needed. Splashes of color mimic the sound of the trumpet, and the line work sets the tone.”


Craig Morgan Teicher on “Jazz”: “Rules and restrictions can push the mind to come up with things it wouldn’t if it had all the time and space in the world. This poem comes from a whole bunch of sonnets written under the sign of that kind of excitement.”



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