Channeling Thelonious

from by Jill Battson

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Channeling Thelonious

for David Virelles

Genetically inherited coffee tones
the twenty seven bones in the span of a hand
channel Monk from the keys
Rise up, Monk! Rise up
pull those tunes out of this boy
his head turned to the side
listening to the hollow of the grand
as it charismas its notes into the world
cork, ivory, tap of felt
his fingers a blurred vision of strength
or soft melancholy reticence
as if really hearing the tune for the first time, in wonder …
And should it be played this way, Monk?
or this …?
discordant notes dragging behind
just a little longer than you’d expect
caught in this moment
where music – felt by the body, driven by the body –
moves into fingers as they make their way
with the weight of melody into the keys
singing with unconscious expression
unearthly, emotive
six feet four inches of Monk rises up
ebony ghost fingers touching this young soul
playing the tune from the next world
or in the turbulent world of himself
eccentricity of two hand spans
translates Monk’s energy into music
channels language with finesse


from gratitude songs, released June 17, 2013



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Jill Battson Toronto, Ontario

Jill Battson is an interdisciplinary poet. She has written several plays as well as the libretti for two operas and produced an electro acoustic sound art project. Dark Star Requiem, for which she wrote the libretto, premiered at Toronto’s Luminato Festival in 2010 and was published in book form. Her new collection, The Ecstatic Torture of Gratitude, was recently published by Guernica Editions ... more

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