Pergolesi/Mayfield - "Live!"

by Charles Leggett



                                                                           Magnificat; assemblage of high school choirs

                                                                                and orchestras, Lodi, CA, late 1970’s

                                                                           —“Medley:  My Bottle is my Companion / The

                                                                                Highway is Like a Woman”; recorded April 4,

                                                                                1983 at Uncle Charlie’s in Corte Madera, CA;

                                                                                released by Winner in 1992



Sitting on my stool straining

to dance with a rented string

bass at eight o’clock

on a Wednesday in a church;


                                                           Percy plunks four keys—three octaves—

                                                           and laughs, a hoarse chuckle.

                                                           Fondles and dips

                                                           into molasses.  Now this


faced into the orchestra

far stage right, so

the two hundred fifty

seventeen year-olds—


                                                           is blues, he croons; tangles

                                                           to a seventh, and the chest

                                                           caves in as his boys

                                                           slide into the mud.


all those voices

hollering and cooing in

the nubile holiday—

are to my left.


                                                           His boys move slow but sound

                                                           impatient: the brushes, thwack;

                                                           the stand-up, bony;

                                                           the hollow-body, soaked

                                                           in a mild Lethe of reverb;

                                                           the keyboards, a helpless narration.


Our conductor is bald,

my calluses have burst

and people cough,

but how the faces glow.



Charles Leggett is a professional actor based in Seattle, WA.  Recent publications include Bottle Rockets and The Centrifugal Eye.  Others include The Lyric, Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry and 2012 Pushcart nominations by Kansas City Voices and The Golden Sparrow Literary Review; work is forthcoming in Big Pulp, Constellations and Graze Magazine.  His long poem “Premature Tombeau for John Ashbery” was an e-chapbook in the Barnwood Press “Great Find” series.


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