..... poetry .....



"I Heard Two Drummers Singing"

I heard two drummers singing,
   their mouths open just enough to smile,
   chorus and dancers fomenting in each of their drum sets.
Yes, I said 'drum sets' 
Not like some high school pissing contest,
   or professional dueling,
   like Buddy Rich facing off with Gene Krupa.
But rather,
   two equally paired pilots of contraptions
   on a single stage 
   flanked by a double bass of voluptuous proportions.

I heard two drummers singing,
   and they were no more content to stay on the 
African Motherland
   than we to stay off the Internet.
Instantaneous space travel to 
   Dakar, Port-au-Prince, Caracas, and New Orleans,
Refusing to cease their free association
   of rhythms, images, and declarations.
Their passports coming apart at the seams.

I heard two drummers singing,
   their playing insisting that I 
   COME  OUT !
Out of the closet of disbelief that
   Ghana's wish to 
   Dance with Harlem is real.
To hear firsthand how the Savannah
   could land so clearly in the legacy of 
   Satchmo, Miles, Trane, and Lady Day.

Years later, those two drummers are 
   still singing . . . 


(dedicated to Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela)

February 2012




©2016, Michael Smolens