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Poems and prints
by John Gibbens

Published June 2004
A5, 20pp, stapled, card cover
ISBN 978-0-9539153-6-1

Poems written in the voices of seven instruments – alto saxophone, double bass, electric guitar, drum-kit, piano, tenor sax and trombone – are illustrated with 13 inket prints, taken from linocuts and drawings, of contemporary jazz musicians in performance.



Electric Guitar

Those hands are speaking like the bees do,
dancing. A steel word
steals from the cone of my amp, a ninth,
then this, augmented.

A plectrum tickling near my tailpiece
implies the chorus
while the horns rush in for their honey
and growl there like bears.

Use fingers, this is no time to strum.
embraces bring out the best in me,
and better’s to come.

My rosewood is wired for harmony;
my ample maple
body has luxurious and simple
single-coil pickups.

Shall we call it a seventh and shed
a blue light slantwise?
Now thrust a major in memory
of the butcher’s boy

who whistled this many wars ago,
which told how sweet was
love, were lips, before the circuitry
engaged him deeply.

Now bugler, bend your barbed string for him
harder, till it cries,
and also for all of my brothers
and others’ lovers.

Ooze of juice that petals clasped, a chord
like a piece of comb.
Crotchet trickle plucked by the bridge, then
peace to these changes.


See The Improvised Vision,
a gallery of musicians

Go to the Trading Post
to buy Septet

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