|Loring Eutemey, album artwork for Charles Mingus, Oh Yeah, 1961. Atlantic|
CHARLES MINGUS EGGNOG RECIPE
Separate one egg for one person. Each person gets an egg.
Two sugars for each egg, each person.
One shot of rum, one shot of brandy per person.
Put all the yolks into one big pan, with some milk.
That’s where the 151 proof rum goes.
Put it in gradually or it’ll burn the eggs,
OK. The whites are separate and the cream is separate.
In another pot— depending on how many people— put in one shot of each, rum and brandy.
This is after you whip your whites and your cream.
Pour it over the top of the milk and yolks.
One teaspoon of sugar. Brandy and rum.
Actually you mix it all together.
Yes, a lot of nutmeg. Fresh nutmeg. And stir it up.
You don’t need ice cream unless you’ve got people coming and you need to keep it cold.
Vanilla ice cream. You can use eggnog. I use vanilla ice cream.
Right, taste for flavor. Bourbon? I use Jamaica Rum in there. Jamaican Rums. Or I’ll put rye in it. Scotch. It depends.
See, it depends on how drunk I get while I’m tasting it!
MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS
Many things I can hate on a jazz musician for. One, for instance, is his mastery of the third-person narrative:
Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus
Mingus in Wonderland
Mingus Ah Um
Mingus exclamation mark
Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
Two, naming half of the songs after his comrades, or a friend’s pork-pie hat.
Three, having 7-word long titles and as many diss tracks.
Four, marrying four white women in a row.
Five, dividing his music into five personas and three eras, one of them gets evicted.
This is when he cries, leaves his rifles aside, does what survivors do best, considers his tragedy something for the better while still wiping his tears. Yes i pledge allegiance, i pledge allegiance to the white flag, to your flag, to the flag of the United States of America, without the stripes and stars. yeah i pledge allegiance.
All the things you are have the chill of death, a black saint in need of his sinner lady, the devil woman coz an angel woman don’t mean no good. A west-coast ghost east-coasting whose lover’s soul is imperfection. Even when fat, arms strong, shoulders wide, dimple deep. Let the children hear his music, don’t be afraid, the clown is afraid too.
I’m getting better i promise, thrice upon a theme, jump monk, it’s a percussion discussion, a minor intrusion, a lovebird reincarnating. Oh am I getting sentimental for you. This is myself when am real. Better get hit in your soul than get hit by an atomic bomb.
Wham bam, thank you Ma’am.
it’s just a prayer for passive resistance,
please don’t come back from the moon.
ALL THE THINGS YOU COULD BE BY NOW IF SIGMUND FREUD'S WIFE WAS YOUR MOTHER
So basically, Sigmund married the woman of his dreams, his mother– they say she was slim and charming (how charming you’ve got to be for Freud!) Martha is the name of my mother, she is also the woman of my dreams. If I take after my dad’s luck, I might find a Martha, and give birth to a Martha, and live happily ever after.
What does this proposition mean anyways? Nothing. It means nothing. It just means that men never forgive their mothers. Baudelaire was forever wounded when his mother remarried. Coming back from a trip with his step-father, he bought her earrings.
When men have nothing to say, when they want to change the subject without shedding blood, they talk about their mommy and daddy. Ludic & ludicrous. Daddy being the master, mommy being every woman they can punch without getting grounded.
Wounding words and outrageous images. At most, a man gets to recite his anxiety, fix his posture, disperse what he knows with what he needs. Only in such family talk, it is safe to play and be played.
* These three poems appeared in the june 2019 issue of the Brooklyn Rail.