The Best of New Writing on the Web

January 14, 2008

God: The ‘Love Supreme’ Defence

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — litlove @ 12:03 pm

By Chris Powici, featured in Dogmatika

For the sake of argument let’s say it’s 1964
and an hour after he’s recorded ‘A Love Supreme’
at the Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey
John Coltrane comes round to my house
practically crying with joy.
As I’m making coffee the great man tells me how
he saw God and touched God and heard God
in the millions of vibrations of the music
and how everything he knows of elation and exaltation
comes from the Almighty. Amen.
I want him to talk more about the music
but am troubled by his religious fervour
so I say that what he perceives as God
is really just the neurons in his brain
and the muscles and nerves of his lips and tongue
and the very breath of his body
coming together to make something amazing
that feels like God but isn’t.
At this point Coltrane looks me in the eye and says
‘Who played the damn piece man?’
Then he walks out the door without even touching his coffee.

Or suppose it’s an hour or so before he’s due to record
and Coltrane bursts through the door claiming
he is about to translate all his love and passion for God
into the best thing he’s ever done or will ever do.
This time he stays for coffee while I explain the argument
about God being a sensation in the brain and the body
produced at moments of intense artistic expression.
I am very persuasive and when he looks me in the eye
Coltrane simply says ‘In that case I won’t bother.’
No Love Supreme.

Either way things turn out badly
(we can’t both be right)
but before making my mind up once and for all
the thought strikes that, as far as I know,
neither The Pope nor Richard Dawkins
have blown so much as a note
of heart-stopping tenor sax jazz.

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1 Comment »

  1. and that my friend is the meaning of difference…any difference makes all the difference…a breath pushed harder or softer and then no “Love Supreme” (well done by the way…)

    Comment by 1poet4man — January 15, 2008 @ 5:14 am | Reply


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