For BP Nichol
Nowadays I listen only to duets.
Johnny Hodges and The Bean, a thin slip
of piano behind them
on this page on this stage
craft a breeze in a horn.
One friends sits back and listens
to the other. Nowadays
I want only the wild and tender
phrasing of "NightHawk,"
its air groaned out
like the breath of a lover.
Rashomon by Saxophone.
So brother and sister woke, miles apart,
in those 19th century novels you loved,
with the same wound or desire.
We sit down to clean and sharpen
the other's most personal lines
—a proposal of more, a waving dismissal
of whole stanzas — in Lethbridge in Edmonton
you stood with the breeze
in an uncomfortable Chinese restaurant
in Camrose, getting a second cup
at The Second Cup near Spadina.
I almost called you this morning
for a phone number.
Records I haven't yet returned.
Tapes you were supposed to make for me.
And across the country
tears about your death.
I always thought, someone says,
he was very good for you.
Though I still like, Barrie,
the friends who are not good for me.
Along the highway
only the duets and wind fill up my car.
I saw the scar of the jet that Sunday
trying to get you out of the sky.
Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkings.
An A and an H, a bean and a breeze.
All these twin truths
There is bright sumac, once more,
this September, along the Bayview Extension.
From now on
no more solos
I tie you to me