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A choice between jazz-critique my piece please!

I wanted to enter this into a reedsy competition, but was a minute too late

By Jay,when I writePublished 5 months ago 4 min read
A choice between jazz-critique my piece please!
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash


squeaks and shuffling of shoes on shiny brown floors


deep breathing behind me

the rhythm and vocalness of it makes me know it’s intentional.

we were instructed to create a scene of stillness in movement

im unsure if anyone thought about what that meant

only we don’t have to think it

we just understand what that means in our own language

i try being present but the clock goes tick tock

i’m somewhere else

somewhere smiling at my favorite person across a room, as she closes her eyes and blows into her instrument

i don’t ever hear or see anything but her when she goes off like that

but i wouldn’t tell anyone else that

inside somewhere, everywhere there’s a record playing with soft jazz, unlike hers

hers is fast and enthusiastic, like it’s trying to take time by surprise

it makes me think of her

tired of jazz being a freaking boy’s club!

i prepare myself for a rant through gritted teeth sounding like a rollercoaster with its grumbles and highs and lows over unsteady tracks

but maybe tonight she won’t say it

tonight she’ll stand in front of everyone and prove she could be apart of jazz like the best of them (the best of them being, according to her: coltrane, parker, getz, bostic), but somehow better

( i know she’s striving for better)

her friend, athena, will scat

a cascade of sounds like she’s imitating a bird even when she says


One sound connecting another like there’s a hyphen only she can find, inserting them in the dictionary just for fun

a thud, butt meets hardwood


i promise I heard every neck snap to the front right corner

owwww f—


sucking in through their teeth

anya has fallen anya has fallen

one collective thought through the room, i could hear them all, trains coming to a quick stop, hurting my ears:

don’t get up,

don’t get up

honestly, the thought ran through my head, but not fully developed because there was another, one more bold and persistent:

there’s something i’ve been meaning to tell her

i have to tell her tonight or i’ll implode

the record stops, but there’s no scratch

the music is just here, then it isn’t

i watch it all play out, but can’t really say i’m present

anya exits stage left

miss winston moves from somewhere and is now in front of us all

while anya goes to get checked up, let’s switch to…let’s switch to auditions actually

everyone wants her role

we know there’s no way she’ll be ok now after watching her limp out with the help of matteo

she was already dancing on a messed up ankle, it was bound to give in

That’s the chance you have to be willing to take as a dancer

I glance up at the time

if im gonna be on time, i need to leave like now

you’re a shoe in since Anya is gone; you know you’ve always been the second fave

my lip feels a slight pinch

i realize my teeth are clamped on it

i open my mouth and a slight sigh comes out,

i feel the the coldness enter and hear the whoosh as it leaves

somewhere, athena is scatting

and in that same place, she’s tapping her fingers

i’ve caught her trying her hand at scatting too.

Dibby doo dibby oooo weee

starting off as a baby’s trying their first word, and ending in a slightly bolder teen saying a cuss word

something about a lick, something about time, something about a measure or beat…she’s a saxophonist by nature, but if you gave her two drumsticks, she’d widen your eyes

i’ve seen them play before

her athena, rhiannon and wes

so, what ya think

uh, the drums sound like metal hitting glass softly, but fast, and it made my fingers tap

a mixed look

i’m really bad at describing music, but i loved it


a sudden high pitched laugh, she tilted her head back

i wanted to tell her then.

i didn’t.

am I gonna miss my chance? She’ll be heartbroken

another missed date night. but I need this opportunity

career goals first, right



there’s something louder going on now. Rock and roll, or alternative…

i look around, my breathing deep and heavy

i feel it within my chest

even my ribs ache.

a cacophony of laughter and glass chiming comes into my ears

i see everything and nothing at all.

someone’s deep and hearty belly laugh somewhere in the distance trying to be caught

finally, i spot her. I watch for a second, allowing my heartbeat to slow and steady itself.


she looks up slowly from her phone

you came

i can’t hear this from where i stand, but i can read her lips just fine

of course i came

for you, i’d always come.

I love you

she cocks her head, and for a second i can’t tell if she caught my words

then, she beams, and there’s us two.

and her saying it back

and her band’s name being announced by someone on front stage

let’s hear some jazz

FictionMusicFeedback Requested

About the Creator

Jay,when I write



23, Black, queer, yup

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  • Alex H Mittelman 5 months ago

    Good work. Capital letters I think, but good work!

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