Posted by: Michael | 19/06/2008

Ben, Bird, Dexter; Woman in Times Square

Ben had lived under the bridge for about 6 years, when Dexter arrived. Ben had been living there since leaving the service of the Great Lord Edward.

Dexter had served and learned from two other renowned saxophonists in the country. First, he sat at the feet of Lester of the River, who was known for his cool soft style. For four years Dexter learned the language and style of Lester; when an opponent charged Lester, Lester would slide to the side leaving his opponent off balance. After fours years Lester told Dexter he should move on and that a visit to The Great Hawk would be of interest to Dexter.

The Great Hawk had created his style when the god Louis had placed his hands on his heart. The Great Hawk was known for his courage; he never retreated. He believed one should always move forward risking all with every move. After two years Dexter’s courage toughened so the he too would risk all every time he played.

At times he would soar higher than the Hawk and then let himself fall, dropping to the earth with suddenness none could match in speed in daring. In his second spring with The Great Hawk woke he one morning finding he was alone. Next to his saxophone was a note. The Great Hawk explained it was time for him to go into the mountains and mediate. The Great Hawk told Dexter that he had heard that Ben the Brute who was living in the West had learned to combine the soft and hard path, and that Dexter would do well to spend some time with him.

At first Ben ignored Dexter; Dexter tried everything but to no avail. Then one morning after three weeks Dexter awoke when something hit his feet. It was the pail Ben used to bring water to the fire to prepare meals. Dexter went and filled the pail with water and brought it back to the fire. From then on Dexter served Ben, though Ben rarely said anything to Dexter. They spend their days listening to the river. Once in a while Ben would pick up a stone or branch and throw it in the river. Dexter was puzzled; how was he to learn.

When Dexter asked Ben about this Ben handed Dexter a block of wood the size of mouthpiece and told him to practice by singing with the wood block in his mouth – not hum but sing.

This was hard to do; Dexter could sing with the mouthpiece but what was produced sounded silly not musical. Dexter started to wonder if Ben was toying with him and not seriously teaching him anything.

One morning Dexter woke to music. He heard someone playing a tenor sax down by the stream. Dexter ran towards the stream. He found Ben standing up to his knees in the water playing Stardust. Dexter was stunned by Ben’s sound. Dexter had heard Ben play so full and powerful that tree branches bent from the notes coming out of the bell of the sax; he heard him growl and groan but this sound was different. This was a soft sax wrapped in a breathy human voice. This was someone using the sax to sing a love song.

Dexter also suddenly realized that Ben was leaving no trace of himself in the water – the water flowed by him as if he were not standing in it. Dexter then realized that the music of Bird and Ben flowed from them as if they were singing even when they were playing powerful and fast. From that day Dexter did not play his sax but sang with his sax.

About two months later Dexter wandered off and met Tanya who had an apartment in Paris one flight above a bakery.

This is one of many shots of people in Times Square; its an easy place to shoot and not get noticed out of ten people in Times Square probably eight are shooting cameras – they are tourists,

[Click on thumbnail to see larger image.]

Woman, Times Square, 2008.


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