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Dennis Mahagin

How To Make It w/ a ‘62 Reissue Japanese Fretless Jazz Bass

Plug her in
easy, easy, yet
with deliberate
reverence, there’s a click halfway
between shove
and pluck, just above a patch
of hum, and the stick… to love  
her you must play
some natural now lick the tip
of your paisley diamond
hard McCartney
plectrum,
then whip it
away.

Keep the EQ
flat, but push volume
between nine or
ten; don’t think about
the Mongoloid prodigy
banjo boy from
Deliverance,
his ghoulish sockets,
hootenanny
whites under iris, shameful
dungarees cum
doom,
and neither go near
the line
from Don Henley’s
Sunset Grille, your talent
isn’t there, and maybe
never, yet still
possessed
of enough heart
for foreplay, vibrato
and the effort
that kills…
hammer on, tremolo,
trill… pull off
a thing between the tongue
and teeth, the ninth
and thirteenth
phantom frets, so little
time left, as your wind
moans the lip
of a bottle, oh Yanni,
get you some, only the first 
sweet good note in years,
a couple more measures

and she’s begging for it,
under a firm growl
and meanness, the keening
between howls…
don’t think about poor Jaco
Pastorius, mad virtuoso
beaten down bloodied unto
death in a south Florida
alley,
but all the keys
you want to play in
still… and maybe
a touch
out of reach, but you will
go up
the neck as she makes
the sound to break hearts
of unreasonable men, art hangs
via balance, you tell the self
Kamasutra legato funk
in the moment
that never was
you, splitting
into two, the billionth harmonic
of every killing effort, multiple
upon multiple upon  
multiple, turn her
down some
son, -- trap
breath within
the slippery damping
and the mute, light years
now, the stunned
meteors will mouth
your prowess, echoes
sustain through
the coming
tears.


Dennis Mahagin is a poet and musician from the Pacific Northwest. He is the author, most recently, of the poetry collection, "Longshot & Ghazal" from Mojave River Press-- which will be available on Kindle, Nook, et al., by summer's end. Dennis is also poetry editor for the online magazine, FRiGG. 


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