Jazz is the Body

Written by Brianna Bullen

David Sudnow said ‘to define jazz
is to describe // the body’s ways’. 
It’s simultaneously: ontology
phenomenology, biology.
Felt, even when intellectualised. 
Jazz’s effects on me, chronologically
(if you can give Jazz a bound chronology):
    1.	My favourite Transformer in the Hasbro cartoon,
        bonding with a distant brother over fruit loops. 
    2.	Name of a high school friend’s intersex cat.
    3.	Mum’s favourite genre // my favourite genre
(discovered separately in different times, different eras).
    4.	High school jazz band: five of us
on percussion. Myself, always on bass or the triangle.
You say there’s no in-between in jazz: all or nothing.
    5.	Individual drum lessons: learned
I had rhythm, but no coordination between
        parts. 
        5.5. I still sit like a drummer, perched
on the edge, prepared to leave at any moment, alert
and unrelaxed.
Imagine:                                                              in space                                          (the future)
they will have just one radio station (set to Jazz)
playing one song: an improvisation
of piano and drum moving as one,
drawing in more instruments. This song
is a verb not a noun. Encapsulating
all it means to be 
from Earth. Jazz is the music of the human,
the body. It is also the music of the stars:
it exceeds us. 

1. David Sudnow 1978, Ways of the Hand: The Organization of Improvised Sounds


Brianna Bullen is a part-time Deakin University PhD creative writing candidate writing about memory in science fiction. She has previously been published in LiNQ, Aurealis, Voiceworks, the Zodiac Australian Speculative Fiction series, and Woolf Pack Zine.


Brianna’s work has appeared in the Harmony, Contact, Illusion, Ethereal, Order, Colour, Power and Euphoria editions of WORDLY Magazine.

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