The Blue Buick

fairchildI’ve just renewed The Blue Buick from U C Library for the third time, which means I’ve had it almost three months now. Guess I need to buy a copy.

These mostly long poems of a man who grew up in Kansas, son of a machine shop owner, are unique. They have a specificity and a narrative beauty that pins me in place. Here is one of the shorter ones, to give you a hint of what they’re like:

Hearing Parker the First Time

The blue notes spiraling up from the transistor radio
tuned to WNOE, New Orleans, lifted me out of bed
in Seward County, Kansas, where the plains wind riffed
telephone wires in tones less strange than the bird songs

of Charlie Parker. I played high school tenor sax the way,
I thought, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young might have
if they were, like me, untalented and white, but “Ornithology”
came winding up from the dark delta of blues and Dixieland

into my room on the treeless and hymn-ridden high plains
like a dust devil spinning me into the Eleusinian Mysteries
of the jazz gods though later I would learn that his long
apprenticeship in Kansas City and an eremite’s devotion

to the hard rule of craft game him the hands that held
the reins of the white horse that carried him to New York
and 52nd Street, farther from wheat fields and dry creek beds
than I would ever travel, and then carried him away.

B. H. Fairchild

And here is  Parker’s Ornithology.

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