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Sunday, March 05, 2023


by Mary K O’Melveny

Wayne Shorter, the enigmatic, intrepid saxophonist who shaped the color and contour of modern jazz as one of its most intensely admired composers, died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 89. 
The New York Times, March 2, 2023

Some people barely tiptoe

through the multiverse, if 

they ever notice it at all.

Others soar on color, line,

on rhythm, tempo, vision.

On poetry swirling like silk.

Listen to that smooth, mellow

tenor sax as he croons, spoons, 

caresses, cajoles, teases, tempts.

His roads were paved with be-bob, 

fusion, funk, hard bop, symphony,

opera, even chamber quartets. 


His footprints knew no limits. 

No regrets. Once you start out, 

There is no reason to stop. 

Take his lead. The weather

report is good. The route mellow.

You know some band mates — 

Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Herbie 

Hancock, Esmerelda Spalding, 

Joni Mitchell, Milton

Nascimento, Steely Dan, Carlos 

Santana, Terri Lyne Carrington. 


You know some tunes—Juju,

Nefertiti, Iphigenia, Endangered 

Species, Gaia, Speak No Evil.

We all grooved down those paths,

as he soothed our way home. 

Every note was a prompt,

every sound a clue, every tone a 

tricked out treat, every twitch 

a temptation to stop, then soar.

He is now well on his way

along enlightenment’s pathway. 

In the key of cool.

Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her most recent poetry collection is Dispatches From the Memory Care Museum, just out from Kelsay Books. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age is available from Finishing Line Press. Mary’s poetry collection Merging Star Hypotheses was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2020.