Matthew Shenoda

For Charles Mingus & That Ever-Living “Love Chant”

after Quincy Troupe


pluckin from real to surreal, and back again
your bass line shifts roots, gnarling trees into singing children
resurrecting tired bones into swinging feet
all the while ringing the song of your Afro-Asian roots
taking us all on the ride & fall of deep-space swinging
like the floating verve of “Bird” and those before you
you can wrap it all up in the dark wood of your hollow bass
make it sing like the quieting love of eagles mating in flight
break-down note for note you’ve paved the streets of reverberating
cadence, Mingus moving thru space with that four-string bass
creating the nimbus of atmospheric jazz & raining down smooth streaks of
love, chanting like two-toned whirls swirling through water like ripples
of come-back-home blues, gyrating instrumental geese flying toward
reformatory refuge of wailing bass lines & smooth-feathered solos
you’ve got love, Charlie, chanting with your outstretched arms, moving
strings like a slide-by grooving, tracing knee to inner knee your lover rests
at the echoing space of every last note, calling across for some thing more

Matthew Shenoda
“For Charles Mingus & That Ever-Living ‘Love Chant’” appeared in Somewhere Else (Coffee House Press, 2005).