Jazz Musicians

By on Jun 21, 2016 in Poetry | 1 comment

 

For the cats with the cases and shades

Back of the bus and bottom of the bin

Cheap as remainders in a CD pile

Paid shit. Smoke shit. Treated the same.

These cats –

Black, brown, yellow, red, white

All mixed up in rainbow sound

From W.C. Handy on down to Cassandra Wilson

Sleeping the day into night

Playing hard to make the rent.

 

For these poor top fortyless bastards

Enmeshed in rhythm and blues and imagination

Slave to sound and syncopation

Penniless, guileless, open to the world

Hoping for the main chance

Knowing it won’t come

 

For you poor sidemen in the symphony of power

Half-citizens

Said to be too out there to make sense

Stand upright and be counted

 

You cats make babies dance

And old folks smile young into their drinks

You tell stories that sing out in the air and then disappear

You serve without obsequy

Each note a blessing

You cats walk the world in different beats

With your ax in hand, your soul in harmony

Thank you – for accepting me.

(2/21/03)

    1 Comment

  1. This one started out so sad(ly), and all I could think of was Sirius Radio and Christian McBride and all the jazz interviews that keep these artists alive (and how much I love them). And then I read the last stanza. It made me happy!

    Michele

    August 1, 2016

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