Why do so many gifted Musicians

Cloud the mind

With smoke or

Liquid spiraling through


Capturing and releasing

Needs and wills

Like prisoners


From barless jails

Where notes and melody

Hang around their necks

Likes keys

For entry and




Right there—

The tune vibrates

Twists the stomach

Like an orange

Juices unceasing

Pressure decreasing

Flowing down the arm

Sweet like honey

Flies policing sugar

Something sweet

Already something sweeter

Coursing through

The veins of

The remains of

So many

Makers of music.



Why was it not enough

The escape of the trumpet moaning

The bass and

The dusty, muddy groaning

The exhales and

The alto wails and

The way the skirts of women

Flutter in the dark

Make love between

The flicker and the spark of

A cigarette lit in a

Smokey room where only

Silhouettes give form to the tune

And the story and

The dilapidated glory of the


Exhaulted in a sweet refrain

To make kings of average men

To set high

The low and even

The lower

But in music

The sowers of

Wild kingdoms in our midst.



The rush and the panic

Of swells and vibratos

Should have

Could have

In dreams of such power

As is wielded in swords and in

Measures full blown

Like helium balloons

Air creeping in

Then sweeping in and

In the crescendo

Screaming in

Before the burst and the

Truth of the moment

In the song that moves us along

From a place of not knowing

To a grand understanding

Without planning but


Repealing the logic

That moves and shapes

In ordinary days

No longer concealing

The core and the

Unaltered shore where our minds

Sink into sand but for

The tide that rolls in and

Pulls back to reveal

A treasure

Laying wide


A chasm to divide

The would’s and the should’s and the




The war that I wage

Is not against the drug

But the substance that


So many healers—

The musicians

Who climb in the holes

Dug by the dealers and the


The substance of misery

Lifeline of dead escape

When the dream and


Fail to create

The explosion of

The illusion of


In the form of


Being loved by all


Like a hole cut in the center

Draining the cancer of

Doubt and


All the way out and

The running from

Running to a life

That is new

Sinking through the old

Burying the untold

The lies

The goodbyes

The setting aside of

Innocence and,

“But I thought it would be

like that,”

In an actuality of this’s.



The escape

Like a bait

Switched in a moment

Too late

So many

Who were great

Now great

But for an hour

Only an hour

And then devoured

Devoured not by passion—

Which would have

Been enough—

But by the dissonant refrains of

The resounding chords of


From images of

Switchblade visages

About which they sang

The nooses from which they hang

The track marks

With names and

The steady progression of

One more way to

Kill the pain.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo Credit: Photographer Robert Hutinski.  http://www.robert-hutinski.com)