Treasure Island

Theresa Haffner

(August 25,1945 / Plainwell, Michigan)

Blue Monk


Thelonious Monk played at
the Five Spot Café
in New York City’s
Greenwich Village district
during the summer and autumn months
of 1957
The legendary bop pianist
led a quartet of jazz musicians
the ambience
a heady mixture of
mood and texture
the tinkle of
black and white piano keys
discordant left hand
tenor sax
the underpinnings of a way of life
that still echoes down the
mindstream
of long lost summer nights
in the metropolis of NYC
to sit at the bar
nursing a whiskey highball
drifting on a pot induced euphoria
violet clouds of cannabis smoke
blue light illumination
made the music seem to float in midair
and Thelonious himself
was at the piano
right there
where you could touch him
where you could, if you dared
to talk to him,
request the song
“Blue Monk”
a slow blues in Bb that
musicians have improvised on
for untold hours
through untold years
never the same
always new
always different
and “Straight, No Chaser, ”
an uptempo blues in F
that implies how musicians like their whiskey
and how the people who listened to them
liked their life
not watered down

Submitted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Edited: Friday, June 17, 2011
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