A Musical Reflection While Brushing My Teeth
(for the trumpet players)
You, my blubbery, foamy embouchure spilling
down, down, through a pure porcelain cone
to where red blood shows in streaky spirals
deliciously counter-clockwised around
the snow-white bowl. There, gray gums brilliant
with gingivitis leak their sanguine music
like the magic of a Purcell voluntary or
those eagle-eyed Nubians sounding victory
in a Verdi brass chorus.
You, my muscled rictus, like Louis’s, Wynton’s
or Maurice’s: standing in the monarch’s chapel
triple tonguing the honors, or in a smoky Village
dive of the 50’s, grooved out into your very own
blue note, maybe in Dizzy’s style, the bell at a
45 degree angle, huge pouches of the cheeks
bulging with that strange grin attached
to the almost bitten mouth piece, like a blow fish
or puff adder when after a solo, the overflow
is opened, the spit valve flushing a pink
silvery thread which glistens down to pool
in a gelatinous puddle around the knotty shoes,
where spattered cuffs flash a mottled
evanescent sparkle under the stagy lights.
You, the gateway of my breath, the lip line
pressed, spared, ovaled, then music expelled
along the mucid path, let taps be played
and closed after rushing water channels down,
down the bore, washes away with myself,
even as the music flares.
— Richard Pflum (Marion County)
This poem originally appeared in Ploplop. Richard Pflum has published two full-length collections (A Dream of Salt and A Strange Juxtaposition of Parts). His poems have appeared in Conceit Magazine, Sparrow, Event, Kayak, The Reaper, Flying Island, The Hopewell Review, Ploplop, The Indiana Experience (anthology), A New Geography of Poets (anthology), And Know This Place, Poetry of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2011), Art & Poems (Arts Kaleidoscope, Muncie 2008), Chopin With Cherries (anthology 2010) and the Tipton Poetry Journal. His most recent collections are the chapbooks The Haunted Refrigerator and Other Poems, (Pudding House Publications, 2007) and Listening With Others (The Muse Rules Press, 2007). He was a MacDowell Fellow and a co-winner of the Moving Forward – Cultural Trail Prize where his poem has been placed in a bus stop shelter along a path of esthetic interest through central Indianapolis. He expects a collection of his new and selected poems to be published by Chatter House Press this year.