Charles Leggett’s Comments
After Hours and But Now Ive Gone are both parts of a longer (chapbook-length) piece called Hard Listening that I'll start shopping around one of these days, the raw material from which is derived from journals dating from the summer of 2005 into early 2006. Hard Listening, to put it crudely, is an account of surviving a difficult life transition with the help of cigars, whiskey, jazz musicand writing. Were talking wee hours, out on the balcony, cheap six-inch Churchills hanging out the mouth, crappy headphones, weathered Walkman, the local (well, Tacoma) jazz station, John Power and Sons Irish, and a fat green spiral notebook. And no sort of expert at all about the music: someone learning about it as he goes, by listening. Listening closely, devoutly, almost desperately, during a time of life when ones heart is breaking, when ones defenses are firmly raised up amongst people during the course of a day, and that much further let down when one is alone. But Now Ive Gone emerges towards the middle of the piece; After Hours falls very near the end.
Another of the poems in Hard Listening imagines an analogous relation between a sublime moment in a Red Garland Trio recording and falling to ones death from ones high-rise apartment during a catastrophic earthquake. When I think of the piece, I think of the recording and the sensations that give rise to the comparison, and sometimes forget the other details. I very nearly submitted it to a journal out of Riverside, CA, called Epicenter, but narrowly averted disaster at the last minute by catching sight of the plangent plea in Epicenters submission guidelines to for gods sake not send them writing about earthquakes. I did send them Ginsberg, however, and they published it in what turned out to be their final issue, in 2007. Thirteen years prior to which, at Seattles Empty Space Theatre (also now defunct), I was involved with creating a piece of late-night theatre about, and/or affectionately making fun of, the Beats. The thing was called Beat Degeneration, and I wrote Ginsberg for it; the poem lingered in the shows lineup for a week or two of rehearsalsbut by opening night the director had cut it. Have a look at Ginsbergs America and youll see exactly what Im up to.
Return to Archive