Jazz By Numbers

Jazz is
Searching for the means
To be free.

It is unexpected.
Doing the opposite
Of what they try to teach

Jazz is
Discarded as rubbish
By those who know better
Only to be retrieved
And studied by those same
Once the fire has cooled

Jazz is
It is now.

Jazz is
It is emotion and sound
Leaping off the precipice of
l'instant present
Into the unknowable chasm
Of the l'instant prochain

Cannot be tied down
It is not
What you want it to be.

Jazz isn't
And not the ossified
Pronouncements of excess study

Jazz can't be caught

Jazz is quicksilver;

Jazz is
The dancer
Not the photograph of the dancer

Jazz is
An expression of existential humanity

Jazz was heard
in the inner ear of
of Sartre
of Kant

Jazz is
and will always
Slip the binds
You create for it.

Jazz is
Which has found a way
To be free.

Peter Johnson

Festival Square By Night

I dance under lampshades
Order doubles, speak in riddles
I escaped the rabbit hole;
Turned out to be void
Of any surreality.

Words of nonsense -
Profound wisdom
I scribble as I hustle through time
Escaping the glass houses near by
In favour of white tents
In a blur of lights again.

Ropes like vine entangle
People mesmerised, they climb
Everyone’s head in this jungle
Chasing some old high.

Old local mythology, plays out nostalgia
It’s not for you and I
Neither of us are from here
But dancing becomes us
So I script us two small parts
As extras in Manchester’s 90s music scene.

Neither of us are from here
But dancing becomes us
Arms outreached to the paper planetarium above
Open to the idea of each other.

Elspeth Vischer

More of Elspeth's MIF reviews are featured in this issue's Stage Reviews section.

Our Love Shares

dropped three points in the market, nosedived

into the negatives and tried to bounce back

by trading small commodities like breakfast in bed

or doing the hoovering. We had to sell while stock

was low because who knows when love

will come good again; it could peak around Christmas

with the angels and tinsel, but go bust by New Year’s,

plummet in disco-ball-sadness when the lights

are turned out and all that’s reflected is darkness.

Your love went to a turnip farmer with sturdy

ankles, the back of a bullock; he could pull a plough

the whole length of a field and never break a sweat.

His love gets subsidised by the government. My love

went into crafts, built a life size model of your love

out of matchsticks, pipe cleaners and PVA glue. My love

went bankrupt selling conceptual self-portraits at car boots.

My love moved to Scotland to live with hippies, created

an annual festival celebrating your burning effigy.

James Giddings

Previously published in The Interpreter’s House #59