Photo by Ben Johnson, Sr.
I saw organist Gene Ludwig in concert earlier tonight, and wrote these three pieces while watching the show. If you’d like to know more about Gene, listen to my interview with him on The Jazz Session.
Gone deep inside, he slides
effortlessly across the organ keys,
never losing the sense of weightlessness
every earthbound mortal
Unlike most, he isn’t held
down by gravity, not forced to
wear the chains of step-by-step,
inch-by-inch. Instead, he
gently leaves the earth, smiling.
Perhaps he’s the local mortician,
skin made alabaster through
affinity with those he serves;
or an accountant, toiling away
until life’s energy winds down
like the gold watch they’ll give him;
he could be any one of a hundred
buttoned-up Rotarians in grey flannel suits,
friends with the mayor or with
the chief of police.
Then he sits down at the organ, and
joy springs from those ivory fingers.
He strips off the grey shell,
revealing the light at his core.
That light is the only thing
that reaches us faster
than his sound.
Grabbing two handfuls of
naturally believes that life is beautiful, that
everyone has ready access to this
level of presence, this certain
understanding of the melody.
Doubtless, they all
would trade places
if they could, exchanging
Gene’s grace for their own.