| All Poems Written
By Golda Solomon|
All Poems are Copyrighted© and may not be used
without written permission of Golda Solomon/JazzJaunts
Legacy | Harlem (1965) West
to East | Bop #2 for Felipe Camacho | SO
In the land of
jazz one last note holds me
Miles orders Herbie to blister those ivories.
and black keys. No wrong notes, says Monk. All blue and smokin'
Jass me baby in the kingdom of my life,
Sheridan Square Decreed To
This Princess. Her Daddy gone.
The royal moonstone ring gentle on my finger.
As I snap to a jazz rhythm, charred memories pulse through fingers
rounded by European teachers urging classical notes. Me
going for piano
lessons in Greenwich Village, an era long gone
The subway from Brooklyn,
my father mixing white
medicine potions with pestle and mortar. His life
reigning over this neon neighborhood, vibrant and smokin'
his queen, tells tearful tales. He died while smoking.
His heart attacks
that last puff. Nicotine stained finger.
"Oh, how he loved you. You kept
him alive. You were his life.
He lived for you." A princess can only bear
so much. Me,
twelve years into my history, ragged cuticles. White
and black keys silenced. Piano slammed shut. Music gone.
I am lonely.
Simple routines derailed. My hero gone.
I get street smart. My innocence
Lucky Strikes. The widowed queen works dressing white
at-home moms. Royal coffer emptied. She does not lift a motherly finger.
I fall from schoolgirl grace. Any day you can find me
hiding out in local
cinemas watching the Hollywood life.
I grow up vamping to "Cement
Mixer", my "Putty, Putty" life
Brooklyn days, Manhattan nights, cords cut,
I am gone.
Scratchy vinyl 78's my baggage. Father's sulphur scent fills
The stuff that dreams are made of, smokin'.
I am on my parent's
bed, daddy lifting me higher, higher. Finger
poppin' Sweet Basil always
Village Drugs. Black and white
soda for Doc's daughter. Jazz,
champagne to this 1960's white
Miss Ann. A blind giant, three horns in his
mouth blows my life.
I am at home on this range with black cowboys. Cinderella
hour, I crook my finger.
Yellow checkered chariot awaits. Wisdom
teeth cut on pork pie hats, Dolphy gone.
Bamboo, the tender of the realm,
Five Spot smokin'
I roll a prescriptive joint. There are no accidents says
Freud. Jazz chose me.
I'm envoy in this kingdom of black and white
notes. Though my father is gone
the bop of my life is copacetic with my
being. Music still smokin’
I finger truths in my jazz catechism. His voice
in the sounds that fill me.
Harlem (1965) West to East
mothers, sisters, aunties
Fallen arches, tired, blessed sleep
to begin again and again
Nurses and aids, scuffed white shoes
of bunions and corns
Worn down heels, negotiating shifts
pulling little sisters by the hand
Tugging at tight braids, pulling up socks
Knees buffed shiny with Jergens
Dispassionate parochial plaids of pleated
"Don't you make me late again for school"
Brothers trying to
Clip-on ties, brigade of navy kites flying up Lenox Ave
a sky of light blue shirts
Oversized jackets and long pants
years of wear if you fold the cuffs under
Bits of white fluff clinging to
Book bags slappin' against gabardine
Old men, stoop sitting
Milky grey rimmed eyes and alcoholic egos
Early morning pints
in communal brown bags
A lost sister, legs splayed
"Hey, gimme a taste
Scent of southern politeness
poking into overturned cans
Bunches of fresh mustard, turnip and
Collard greens sold daily from the backs of
Trucks and station wagons "Fresh
"Those whitey owned markets show us no respect"
heads of lettuce dreams, days old passing for produce
high rise condos and coops
Butting against projects and boarded up buildings
Intricate brass doorknobs, remains of another era
Harlem Hospital, Lenox
History of a people on shelves at a collection called Schomberg
Get clean or high at the "Y"
Glassine packets of white powder
green backs slipped palm to palm
Suited men hawking Muhammed Speaks and
Belly's full of jazz, chicken and waffles from Wells
Gold Brick open
22 West where high collared
about the 'man', sports, latest politician on the take
"Hey girl, this slice of watermelon must be for one
of those puny pale guys
116th St. crosstown bus
Changing voices of puberty ranting
"Hey faggot" "Your mama didn't think so last night"
Church mediates the 5th Avenue divide
Museos Del Barrio, a storefront on
Smells of La Marqueta
Park Ave uptown
is cheap chic
Clothing hung from high racks
Un-easy truce with the
Knight sticks dangling off blue uniformed hips
down the drive protected by an avenue named Pleasant
Highways and projects
named after dead white presidents and generals
Patsy's on First, pizza and
old world dining
Kisses on both cheeks, jowls held by pinky ringed men
No Puerto Ricans
No longer safe
"Hey, ja hear, Frank
was in the neighborhood"
Sinatra sighting at the Ded-lightful Coffee Shop
Bop #2 for Felipe Camacho
put soft hands
Lacquered fingernails across her belly
Hide your growing
presence under a large skirt size
Whisper to you in an educated tongue
Why she was abandoning you
Pass on this blues that hums through your genes
Come to me my melancholy baby
She squeezed you out
three months early
Under antiseptic lights of a Bogota hospital
and heat of the incubator
Tubes in your veins, machine mother cooing to
Sir name: sephartic wanderer
First name: popular hero on daytime
She signed herself out and disappeared
Come to me my melancholy baby
Cuddle up and don’t be blue
Did you cry for mother’s milk
Or were you a stoic infant warrior
Heart shaped scars keep intravenous secrets
Colombiano spirits daring you
I held you on your four month birthday
You, no bigger than
my two hands touching
Come to me my melancholy baby
on my honey dear
While I kiss away each tear
Baptized by vodka cleansing
Baptized by sweat dripping from Tony Williams' sticks
Thick Summer Sunday Afternoons
at the Vanguard
Horn like a flyswatter, ready to
this whippersnapper of a man/child
beast in a muted horn
Tony drawing Miles in and driving Miles' sounds
asking this upstart of the sticks
to his schoolyard
Miles' game and
Tony took over
street players on those raggedy assed
west 4th Street courts and
Avenue of Whose America
Lives played out on asphalt
ball going cleanly through mesh net
My hands - gripping the fence
Looking in at perfect pick-up games
Blue/black and tans who were fucked
over by the man
Come on! Come on!
Dart, pass, dribble, shake and shoot
Beat up sneakers squeakin'
Smokin' up the pavement
Basketball Is Jazz
Tony workin' his backboard
Hitting that hi hat
Honing his ax in Miles'
Smiled that funny
smile that looked evil
Hunched over, shook spit out of his horn
off the stage and
left him to solo
Nets and hoops shimmied
under naked sun