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 in brussels, eye sat in the grand place cafe & heard
duke's place, played after salsa
between the old majestic architecture, jazz bouncing off
all that gilded gold history snoring complacently there
flowers all over the ground, up inside the sound
the old white band jammin the music
tight & heavy, like some food
pushin pedal to the metal
gettin all the way down
under the scaffolding surrounding
l'hotel de ville, chattanooga choochoo
choo choing all the way home, upside walls, under gold eagles
& a gold vaulting girl, naked on a rooftop holding a flag over
her head, like skip rope, surrounded by all manner
of saints & gold madmen, riding emblazoned stallions
snorting like crazed demons at their nostrils
the music swirling like a dancing bear
a beautiful girl, flowers in her hair

the air woven with lilting voices in this grand place of parepets
& crowns, jewels & golden torches streaming
like a horse's mane, antiquity riding through in a wheel carriage
here, through gargoyles & gothic towers rocketing swordfish lanced crosses
pointing up at a God threatening rain
& it is stunning at this moment when raised beer steins cheer
the music on, hot & heavy, still humming & cooking
basic african-american rhythms alive here
in this ancient grand place of europe
this confluence point of nations & cultures
jumping off place for beer & cuisines
fused with music, poetry & stone
here in this blinding, beautiful square
sunlit now as the golden eye of God shoots through
flowers all over the cobbled ground, up in the music
the air brightly cool as light after jeweled rain
still, there are these hats slicing foreheads off in the middle
of crowds that need explaining, the calligraphy of this penumbra
slanting ace-deuce, cocked, carrying the perforated legacy of bebop
these bold, peccadillo, pirouetting pellagras
razor-sharp clean, they cut into our rip-tiding dreams carrying
their whirlpooling imaginations, their rivers of schemes
assaulted by pellets of raindrops
these broken mirrors catching fragments
of sonorous words, entrapping us between parentheses
two bat wings curved, imprisoning the world

Poem by Quincy Troupe
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Book: Shattered Sighs