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[04] There'll Be Some Changes Made E-mail
Viper Mad
Wednesday, 28 December 2005 05:49
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Part IV

"There'll Be Some Changes Made"


'It was that flashy,
sawed-off runt of a jockey named Patrick
who made a viper out of me,'
Mezz Mezzrow recalled. 'Back

in the Arrowhead Inn,
where I first met Patrick,
he told me he was going to New Orleans
& would be back one day

with some marihuana,
real golden-leaf. When Patrick
marched in one night
he pulled out a gang of cigarettes

& handed them to me. They were as fat
as ordinary cigarettes
but were rolled in brown
wheatstraw paper. We both lit up

& I got halfway through mine
before he stopped me. "Hey,"
he said, "You ain't even smokin' it right.
You got to hold that muggle

so that it barely
touches your lips, see,
then draw in air around it. Say tfff,
tfff, only breathe in

when you say it. Then don't
blow it out
right away,
you got to give the stuff a chance."

After I finished the weed
I went back to the bandstand.
The first thing I noticed was
that I began to hear my saxophone

as though it was inside my head,
but I couldn't hear much of the band
in back of me, although I knew
they were there. All the other instruments

sounded like they were way off
in the distance. Then I began to feel
the vibrations
of the reed

much more pronounced
against my lip, & my head
buzzed like a loudspeaker. All the notes
came easing out of my horn

like they'd already been made up,
greased & stuffed into the bell,
so all I had to do
was blow a little

& send them on their way, one
right after the other,
never missing,
never behind time,

all without an ounce of effort. I felt
I could go on playing for years
without running out of ideas
& energy. There wasn't any struggle,

it was all made-to-order
& suddenly there wasn't a sour note
or a discord in the world
that could bother me. I began to feel

very happy
& sure of myself. With my loaded horn
I could take all the fist-swinging,
evil things in the world

& bring them together
in perfect harmony,
spreading peace & joy & relaxation
to all the keyed-up & punchy people

everywhere. All of a sudden
the world became
one big bellyful of giggles
bathed in brilliant, sparkling colors

that hit me like a heatwave. All my pores
opened like funnels,
my nerve ends stretched,
& every sensation

was the most exciting one
I'd ever had. I began to preach
on my horn, leading all the sinners
on to glory.



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