A Poem for Faruq – friend, mentor, musician, poet


                Learning to Listen
                                           (for Faruq)

                        by Marc Beaudin

     “Listen to the reed
and how it tells a tale,
complaining of separation”
–from “Mathnawi” by Rumi
as interpreted/reimagined
by Faruq Z. Bey (1942 – 2012)

With dusk descending on Marcus Garvey Park
suffused w/ the tones and stones of Harlem,
the dreams and deliriums of Harlem,
the history and heresies of Harlem,
I’m surrounded suddenly from within
by your music –
here, though not your Detroit, yet here.

Having heard the news just before boarding a plane,
having heard the news that your sax was in its case, the lid closed and latched,
having heard the news, having heard

The shoulders of buildings rise to meet the song
The play of light off your shape-shifting tenor
dances in the imagined water of the empty pool
I hear something in the yells & laughter of playground children
I hear something in the poetry of evening birds
unseen in every tree

and a million fragmented souls
separated from Source
and the reed calling out
for reunion

The truth that I squeeze tight in my hand
and thrust into a pocket
is that I’ll never hear you play again –
the vibration emanating directly from your breath,
through your horn and the prismatic air,
to my ear, cradled by a nest of nerves that imitate each wave

The other truth I try, but can’t bury:
Have I yet learned to really listen?

or have I been letting sounds bounce off my surfaces
like a drum head without its resonating tree-body
that takes the sound deep and
tells the story to itself again and again
until, growing beyond the container of self,
echoes into the world?


About marcbeaudin

Poems, plays, books, roads, trails.
This entry was posted in poetry, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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