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POEM: Bongocero

Bongocero
(for Arturo O’Farrill)

the meaty slap of flesh on flesh
the pop of skin on skin
fingertips, the side of the thumb
legs a vice to hold the shells

the heart of the matter is a mix
of rhythm and freedom
of accompaniment and improvisation
of ancient order and modernity

then from the back of the stage
the trumpets kick in
and the bongocero drops his drums,
which fall to the stage with a thud

now it’s skin grasping wood striking metal
as the bell cuts through
the urgent stabs of the horns
and gives a lift to the dancers

gi-gi-go
gi-gi-go
gi-gi-go
gi-go

gi-gi-go
gi-gi-go
gi-gi-go
gi-go

Published in Music My poems Poetry

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