They’re playing jazz in Leavenworth,
ersatz Bavarian tourist trap of Washington State,
a brittle-fingered quartet sentenced
to the cellar of a failed Bierpalast
fake snow sweating down the cinder block walls.
the musicians don’t care;
music coats their stomachs
extra virgin olive oil, extra soul,
riffing like four college dropouts
rarely riffed before, taking solos
handing them off, taking them back;
drummer so low over his skins
his hair dampens his paradiddles.
there are seven other people in the room
three of them work there
none of them will remember tomorrow
the changes made on the fly during
A Night in Tunisia or the agreement
between bass and alto sax
that anchored Blue Rondo ala Turk
deep into the bedrock of the Cascade mountains.
blisters will burst in the early morning
the cats will stagger into spring alley cool
smoke cigarettes before loadout
realize that they were as good as they were going to get.
always leave them wanting more
but if you can’t
leave everything you’ve got on the stage.