Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Channeling Thelonious

by Dante Di Stefano


Just because you’re not the drummer,

doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep time,

doesn’t mean time doesn’t have to keep you

tisking, doesn’t mean graveyard logic


proves America a theorem, doesn’t mean

whiplashes and the feral tail of galaxies

become meaningless nightmares in the dark,

doesn’t mean spinning around in circles


equals infinity or the KKK psychosis

of confiscated cabaret cards, doesn’t mean

an elephant’s at the keyboard, or the night

waltzes on less crepuscular without you,


doesn’t mean shit, except that all you have

of heaven is a few chords the crickets

can’t play right because they don’t know

the changes, talking about post-racial this


and how Obama’s supposed to make a sphere

where nobody hears that sick etude,

from just a few years ago, those chains made

on asphalt when James Byrd Jr.’s body


got dragged out in a national epistrophe.