Charles McPherson

Instructions for Maintaining a State of Becoming

(Inspired by the words of Charles McPherson, saxophonist)


Immerse yourself in the original Nile.

Choose a tender reed; let ancestry

run all over it. Trace the silver

of your sax to the bed of this womb.

Your reed will take you, so journey to your need.

Blue drops moon into stillness: listen.

For millennia wind has weaved sound here.

Beckoning, a woman stands in the reeds,

dark, bare, scented with wild lavender.

Follow her, for now, you can

sew legacy into laughter, pull

through the notes of the Nubian reed player,

the unwritten arpeggios of club sidemen.

Realize the telling is never complete.

Follow their phrases.

Do not look back.


Reprinted from the book Music Masquerades as Honey in my Hands.

Copyright © 2015 by Freida Jones. SaintLaurent’s Silhouettes.

Reprinted with permission from the author.


Freida Jones is a writer of poems, novels, and plays. She is the author of Music Masquerades as Honey in My Hands, a collection of poems centered around jazz. Recently, the playwright’s production of Lucky Strikes Legacy was well-received by Massachusetts theatergoers. Participating in writer’s workshops keeps Freida’s creativity refreshed and helps to “maintain her process of becoming.”