I Play Sax For Them As They Jive.


I nod my head to the leader

of the band playing my tune,

the signal that silently suggests,

if he would be so kind,

to go up the range,

make it beat faster, till I lose my breath

in the smoky atmosphere and sit

wide eyed at the dance, this mix of tango

and waltz, gentle and frantic

all in the space of a single ball room

to which I play the saxophone, sweat

drives with the speed

of an out of control Plymouth,

limited edition fiery red and a ghost

at the wheel, but to the onlooker

as they jive and wheel in slow motion,

it looks like the casual cool

of an iceberg lost at sea,

hitching a ride on my skin,

hitching a ride as it the Devil steers

it towards the boat, only to miss at the last

possible moment, the last second the look out

with bloodshot eyes and whisky breath

wakes up and averts disaster, meanwhile

I keep playing my own tune, the sax

in full flight and the understanding

of the prohibition as it whets my whistle

here inside the darkened room, lit up

only by candles and the fire of the hearts

of those I cannot reach,


in the centre of the room,

far from my shore

where I blow my instrument

as they start to sink

without a trace

and without saying goodbye

when their party is over.


Ian D. Hall 2018