I posted this poem earlier today. It was a free-writing exercise — exactly what came into my head, no editing after the fact. As I was explaining the references to two friends, I thought it might be fun to make an annotated version of the poem for everyone to read. I’ve numbered the lines and put the notes at the bottom. Enjoy!
/ / /
skreeks & skronks
plectrum scraping against metal wire 
string theory: indeterminate length 
you take two bodies & mash their atoms 
collisions yielding energy / heat / light 
what if I gave you this & you kept it? 
one note in the bass arpeggio above 
we assimilate Italian terms because we 
have no adequate words to describe this 
aural multiverse through which we’re flying 
add drums bring to boil reduce heat simmer 
there are saved onions in the fridge 
they’ve accepted Jesus into their cores 
peeled away the layers of freewill 
acknowledged their eventual dicing in service 
of the Lord & his supper table 
bring me the head of Robert Fripp & 
five white people who can clap on two & four 
then lay me down in sheets of sound 
John Coltrane has my blood on his hands 
from when he slipped & I caught him 
he hovers above the bed in judgment 
waiting for his ascension when he’ll be 
seated at the right hand of Earl “Fatha” Hines 
“if all you can play are squeaks & honks 
then you’re not really free” 
10 April 2012
NOTES (not all the lines have notes)
 This is a reference to some sounds coming from Terrence McManus’s Brooklyn EP, which I was listening to while writing this poem.
 A reference to this video.
 A revision of a line from the Paul Simon song “Hearts & Bones” combined with the science-y bit from the previous line.
 The previous line made me think of the Large Hadron Collider.
 Another description of the music from note .
 e.g. “arpeggio”
 The record changed to a duo album with Terrence McManus and drummer Gerry Hemingway called Below The Surface Of.
 Factually true, then “saved” becomes a play on words for converting to Christianity.
[16-17] These two lines came to me months ago but I never used them. They popped into my head while I was writing this poem. Robert Fripp is the founder and leader of the band King Crimson, among other things. The “two & four” thing is a classic jibe at white folks who are stereotypically more likely to clap on the first and third beats of a measure. If memory serves, Fripp once edited some performances in the studio to make drummer Bill Bruford’s playing sound more in 4/4 time than Bruford had played it.
[19-20] A mounted poster of Coltrane is hanging in my bedroom. When I hung it, I dropped it and cut my hand while catching it. I bled on the poster and have never cleaned off the blood stain.
 Ascension is an album by John Coltrane.
 “seated at the right hand of the father” is a line from the Apostles’ Creed, which I can still stay from memory despite not having been to a Catholic mass since the early 80s. Earl “Fatha” Hines was a jazz pianist.
[24-25] This is a paraphrase of something said by drummer Barry Altschul when I interviewed him earlier this year.