The Day Duke Raised: May 24th, 1974
For Duke Ellington
1. that day began with a shower of darkness, calling lightning rains home to stone language of thunderclaps, shattering, the high blue, elegance, of space & time where a broken-down, riderless, horse with frayed wings rode a sheer bone, sunbeam road, down into the clouds 2. spoke wheels of lightning jagged around the hours, & spun high up above those clouds, duke wheeled his chariot of piano keys his spirit, now, levitated from flesh & hovering over the music of most high spoke to the silence of a griot-shaman-man who knew the wisdom of God 3. at high noon, the sun cracked through the darkness, like a rifle shot grew a beard of clouds on its livid, bald face, hung down, noon, sky high pivotal time of the flood-deep hours as duke was pivotal, being a five in the nine numbers of numerology as his music was one of the crossroads a cosmic mirror of rhythmic gri-gri 4. so get on up & fly away duke, bebop slant & fade on in, strut, dance swing, riff & float & stroke those tickling, gri-gri keys those satin ladies taking the A train up to harlem, those gri-gri keys of birmingham, breakdown sophisticated ladies, mood indigo get on up & strut across, gri-gri raise on up, your band's waiting 5. thunderclapping music, somersaulting clouds, racing across the deep, blue wisdom of God, listen, it is time for your intro, duke into that other place, where the all-time great band is waiting for your intro, duke it is time for the Sacred Concert, duke it is time to make the music of God, duke we are listening for your intro, duke so let the sacred music, begin
From Transcircularities: New and Selected Poems by Quincy Troupe. Copyright © 2002 by Quincy Troupe. Reprinted with the permission of Coffee House Press, Minneaoplis, www.coffeehousepress.com.