Jackie McClean/Steve Dalachinsky




Tantalus #1

(Jackie McLean @ the Village Vanguard)   


Jack stood here      like sadness   a tree sitting like wild calm

        motionless        trembling   drunk on ecstatic spirituality


Tantalus gave away the secrets of the gods

     frustrated with his position   in the rhythm section

             keeping time    woman   family


Eric stood here     after a long solo

   a tree   sitting with eyes on the red worn carpet     

                     drugged by euphoric  somber contemplation

    kept to himself   with the intelligence of a well planned village


Tantalus    was punished for his crime    made to stand chin deep in water

          gave away the secrets of the gods

    staring at the heavily laden ever bearing fruit tree

                    stood motionless         trembling     he had become a desert

   gave away the secrets of the gods     for all eternity


John stood here       far from India    but India inside him  & played 

                  flooded with impressions     of all those secrets  

           small bits of knowledge              revealed    caught    provoked    rebellious

 stood as a tree          in utter pain  & crisis        a saint maltreated   

   aching & chasing the wicked away           listening    after Eric’s turn   

                    absorbing with trembling              &             motionless


Tantalus  stood     motionless 




    only able to    see              hear      smell

raised his hand to his waist     played a solo on his fingers

             quiet  like the branch of a tree

                only light to soothe him

                only night to shut him down

motionless trembling   like the intelligence of a tree


Jackie stands here      at set’s end    renewed.


       * Jack = Kerouac       Eric = Dolphy

          John = Coltrane        Jackie = McLean                                                         



Jackie McLean @ Village Vanguard

    for Melvin Clark


it’s 10 to 1 Jackie has a stomach pain

i’m really drunk

he goes back stage

a young quick upstart takes his place

the man i came to see played great for 3 tunes the 2nd set

despite his dispepsia

& now Wallace, Kenny & Steve all take his place &

they all sound great

but of course i am very drunk & know very little in any case

the guy i’m with dislikes my behavior  we were both dope fiends once

& he only drinks sarratoga water now while i work on my 5th gin

i’m loud & scratchy & he says " wha’d’ya think" & i say or he says

the young upstart - his words - has no history & that he  the featured soloist

(Jackie Mac) who is now very sick, is part of our history

he is a cool awakening       a glove that fits over our hearts

a spray of fresh birdsong 

that fills our lungs & makes our lips look cheery

we grew into that sound         his sound

& it grew into our fabric these past 30 odd years


Wallace did a sweet short solo but again - what do i know i’m drunk

the piano rips me but the cat i came to see packed up his horn & went

into the back room

i’m drunk as a skunk & i know it & my friend knows it

& Kenny wears a strange set of threads as he dances on the alto

the tempo is quick & the juice of youth spills into my spoiled &

sopping brain    but what do i know

& the tune is by Coltrane who my friend here got to see at least 3x’s & me

almost once           but that’s another story

& the tune was written for Mr. P.C. a cat Coltrane really respected


& the young speed down the asphalt & screech to a halt @ the exit

& then turn ‘round softly launching into a standard but what do they know

whispering Body & Soul while the man i came to see suffers in the

back room        trapped in the middle between 2 thin lines

2 alternate signs amidst a slew of yellow cabs     with flashing lights

trapped between dirty works failure success street corners & Mars


the man i came to see suffers in the back room Body & Soul

but what do i know what do i know i’m drunk dead drunk

what do i know



the funeral (of jackie mc lean)


we gather by the river

in a world without end








                                         (believers or not)


we play at stewardship/ness


endless world of     alternate

original lines:

                             flowers glass    &    endless


world of                              midnites                                                              


midnites & flowers


bile-stained & blood sun             

                            glasses stained with bile &   blood


clouded sky                                                     sun cloud




skin of wood &     the          be-heathed




the beheath(en)ed


the final song


the riff & rift


of noble but over long      speeches


cleaned brass affectioned






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