Art Blakey/Matthew Lippman



Make More Art Blakey Mistakes



When I drive my car

On the interstate

I listen to Art Blakey

Not because I want to


But because he’s on the radio

And I’m too lazy

To turn the dial

So I let the wind


Suck my face

And Art Blakey’s back beat

Suck my face

Because I want my face



Out of itself

So I might get

Out of my own way


For once

And stop thinking

About all the pain

I have inflicted upon


The ferns and the squirrels

My kids and wife

My mother and father

My brother Michael and his beauty


Stop thinking about

How I can make more cash

More raspberries

More dungeons


And maybe, instead

Make more Art Blakey mistakes

The ones when he hits his sticks

Instead of


Ka-chinging the high hat

While sweat flies off

His cheeks

In Oslo or New York


Make more double trills

Instead of singles bounces

Those moments that are not lies

That are secrets


He tells himself

Not even knowing

That he is unleashing

Some kind of stupid answer


To the mystery of being

Art Blakey

In a world of not

Art Blakeys


That’s what I want

To get out of my life

And live in a world

That is not my life


All mistakes and sweat

All trash talking

Drum spiraling





Ant Fantasy



Waiting for the grill

To heat up

The birds heated up

Like they are waiting


For rain

The ants too

Going from one end of

The deck


To the other with

Ark Blakey

Stuck to their

Ant heads


I’ve got Ugetsu

Cranked up high

For the rain

For the hamburgers


That I will kill

On the grill

Sometimes I want

To pick up the ants


And grill them too

And the clouds

Rub that cilantro

Jalapeño rub


All over their curvy

Sexy bodies

And fry them up high

Because most days


I want to eat everything

Sometimes out of war

Sometimes out of love

Put my face into the ant’s face


And eat that sucker

Ant bone and all

Cloud bone and all

Art Blakey


And his Japanese fantasy

That goes something like

Two trumpets

Two saxaphones


And a place very far away

That only the ants have been

In the rain

But it’s just my fantasy


And why I can’t do

Anything about anything

But sit here

And wait for rainfall


On my face

That I have stuck into

The rain

That I have stuck into


The already dead

Ground up beef

This absence of fantasy

This death


This everyday truth




A Night in Tunisia

(A Night In Tunisia)


I have never had

A night in Tunisia

Or a night in Icleand

But I’ve had a night


In Art Blakey

Where all the marimbas

Speak Spanish

And my head


Flies off my shoulders

Into outer space

The way my daughter says

In the car


It wouldn’t be funny

If people just fell off

The world

Into the blackness


I said

How old are you

She said Daddy

Don’t be stupid


And for a second she


And her older sister

Were a night in Art Blakey


With Lee Morgan

And Bobby Timmons

Trying to get us out

Because if you stay


Too long

In Art Blakey

On any given night

You won’t be


A night in Tunisia

You won’t be a day

In New York City

You will


Be a man

Who has lost his head

But in that way

That it is like


Losing your head

When you are a night

In a thunderstorm

Falling into daffodil storm


Before you can get

A handle

On The yellow

That has just fallen


Into your body


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