In memoriam Warne Marsh

With immediate effect
all protein compounds broken down
chromatic that suddenly dissolves
notes sagging back to their tonic

The last moment: his inward
gaze surveyed in a flash all the unplayed
possibilities and then snuffed it

The subject is greater than the man
who is lying up there on stage
next to his saxophone

Melodies left him
fluttering away out of their harmonies
pulled back into the wall

A couple of times in his life
he was touched by the same hand
that felled him here – in one blow

A door has closed itself
we’ll never get behind it
in front of it we hear nothing


Nothing but the music
he left behind
in forms of amber

I strain an ear to hear
hear the repeated necessity
that suddenly eluded him

Time after time the crystal
of memory was hewn
into smaller and smaller facets

Each cell says the same
softer and softer but
as sharp as a hair

Ill at ease he weaves himself whole
adrift between beats on the
thermals of the moment

Distant star that sparkles
long after its passing
through the diamond of the needle.

Translation from the Dutch: Scott Rollins