(For R.)

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1. “Wind Solo” by the Felonious Monks
From the album Silense ©1956

1945, after everyone got hip to the blues, this is the code
The hipsters devised. This is what they call a mean
Horn. High on something, the sax man wades beyond the shallow
End of a stormy sea. You can almost see him gathering mist.
The album cover’s got nothing but the contours of his body
And a dangerous language you comprehend even if you can’t read.

2. “The DJ’s PJs” by SGP (The Stank Gangsta Prankstas)
From the album Loot the Joker ©1992

This is for shell-toe sneakers and warmups dyed the hottest red
I ever saw. So red it was cool. So cool it was a permanent cold.
You can almost hear Negroes freed of the ghetto, the mint
Spewing greenbacks in this song. Who wouldn’t want to shampoo
In Benjamins? Even one hit and a dope video makes a mystic
Of the pauper. At the end of the track you can hear spit in a bottle.

3. “Mood Etude # 5” by Fred Washington Sr.
From the album Blassics ©1985

Strange inclusion, I know, but sometimes lyrics wear a blindfold.
How many violins, harps, and grand pianos constitute a jazz reed?
This is Bach according to a young man born on the Carolina coast.
This is Bach according to a man whose favorite word is “Amen.”
This is Bach according to a man whose childhood was a shambles.
What if Keats heard Jazz, what if Bach heard the Blues. It’s all music.

“Metal Face” by Glad Battle Wounds
From the album New Battle ©2004

Remember the Mute Trout album, Empty MT? The mystique
Of this jam won’t puzzle you if you do. The way the battle
For hearts and minds sounds like the same old bullshit. A newsreel
Of tanks crushing corpses and a brave solider in a coat
Of medals. Remember those old war songs about the Age of Man?
Maybe like those cuts this one is about being bold and shackled.

5. “Oh, You” by Marvin & the Gay Ghosts
From the album Baby, Don’t Won’t ©1987

Everything that needs to be said here is contained in a shadow.
Whenever I fell asleep listening to this song, I woke drenched in music,
The CD on repeat, my mouth filled with the meat of the bitter-
Sweet. I’d dream of my first love, then find none of it was real.
Some songs are like that, I suppose. Like being clothed
In sweat and wistfulness. Sigh. It’s a tune to make you moan.

6. “Mythic Blues” by Big Bruise Guitar
From the album The Devil’s Angel ©1924

If you’re happy, skip this one. It’s definitely not meant
To make you dance. Yes, the previous track was also slow. Use the shuffle
Mode if you don’t want to walk the path I’ve left you. Called “The Mythic
Blues,” this track has a way of reminding you how sin does battle
With the good in you. Saltwater is all a listener can reap.
You can see nothing but the blues even when your eyes are closed.

dear r, if anything, this cd tells you how I am sometimes willing
to shuffle into the cove of the melancholic, ready to live
among the men music continuously baffles … t.