Saturday, February 19, 2005


Tights + flute =
Rock & roll?


* * *

This poem got a huge ovation this past Friday at Ozzie's Poetry Night in Park Slope. Generally, this poem goes over pretty well at readings - there is usually some amusement, a few chuckles. Of course, it depends on the audience age demographic; it strikes me that few people under, say, 35 would know what Jethro Tull is. Maybe 45, who knows?

But Friday was a totally different story. The audience was so there, willing to find real amusement in this terse poem. When I finished saying the words "rock & roll" the place went wild. There was a long, drawn out pause where I couldn't say anything further, the reaction was so loud. I felt like I was on a sitcom being filmed before a live audience.

Finally, after a glorious eternity - which was really about seven seconds - I delivered the punch line: "Discuss." Pandemonium. The previous reaction was dwarfed by a bigger and even more enthused outbreak of laughter, cheers and whoops of affirmation! I'm no mathematician, as anyone who has ever witnessed me trying to calculate a fair tip at dinner out will attest to, but I would say the second crescendo bested the first by approximately 2.5 times.

I have to admit that "The Jethro Tull Story" has always been one of my favorite poems - once I allowed myself to accept that it was perfectly okay for a poem to be comprised of 5 words and a plus and equal sign. I thought long and hard about whether such could validly constitute a "real" poem. Ultimately, I looked to my hero Richard Brautigan - a true master of brevity - and decided "What the frig?" If Brautigan can write poems consisting only of titles, then what's wrong with a little simple arithmetic? [N.B. Brautigan includes four poems that are titles followed by a blank page beneath in his book Rommel Drives On Deep Into Egypt.]

Sadly, I've not yet convinced anyone to publish "The Jethro Tull Story," but I won't give up trying. In the meantime, be among the first to enjoy it. Right here.


Blogger jellyrollfortheearhole said...

One of my all time favorite guitar solos is Robert Fripp's 5 second solo in "Neal, Jack, and Me." In those seconds he says all that's necessary without extraneousness. Everything you need to know about Fripp the guitar player is there as well.

Your TJTS is similiar. Of course, you don't describe the fact that Anderson's diamond hard cool was such as to make the flute, and tights, cool to a generation of guitar idolators, but no matter. Those of us who know Tull get your point. Yeah, pretty brilliant.

May I post it on my blog? (With full credit and links of course.)

12:34 AM  
Blogger jellyrollfortheearhole said...

I've sinced learned the solo was played by Adrian Belew. Different name, same feeling.

6:58 PM  

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