Rehearsal:  the jazz band works with breath

the conductor plays out their notes,

invisible cord streaming from her hands

    inside your mouth 

    a room,

    she says,    

    make it what you want:

    dark with plush carpet of softened cheeks

    bright and tight with crisp tall walls

    choose an acoustical shape:

    cathedral arches

    smoky den

    check in with your lips

    get the breath going:  FULL

    aim a sound toward the teeth

    open up that hard palate

    tongue touching the tip

    roll the pitches again

    reinitiate when you need

    stagger-breathe and

    make eye contact

    hold the "look"

    share the breath

    feel it out

    add a lift

    dig it

    back off


    add a shake

    make it swell

    put the weight on the L

    get off it

    swing it

    give it some life

    bend that note

    give it a scoop

    hit the tough cut offs

    mind the ties and

    don't jump the gun;

    you can't be sassy if you're rushing

she may choose to swing and do_it

or to keep strict time and do | it,

but some things just won't change:

that thin brief hollow sound of "you",

that long-held golden orb of "moon"