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February in Sidney

Dexter Gordon’s tenor sax

plays “April in Pairs”

inside my head all the way back

on the bus from Double Bay.

Round Midnight, the 50’s,

cool cobblestone streets

resound footsteps of Bebop

musicians with whiskey-laced voices

from a boundless dream in French,

Bud, Prez, Webster and The Hawk,

their names run together

like mellifluous riffs.

Painful gods jive talk through

bloodstained reeds and shiny brass

where music is an anesthetic.

Unreadable faces from the human void

float like torn pages across the bus windows.

An old anger drips into my throat,

and I try thinking something good,

letting the precious bad

settle to the salty bottom.

Another scene keeps repeating itself:

I emerge from the dark theater,

passing a woman who graps her red purse

and hugs it to her like a heart attack.

Tremolo.  Dexter comes back to rest

behind my eyelids. A loneliness

lingers like a sliver needle

under my black skin,

as I try to feel how it is

to scream for help

through a horn.


Yusef Komunyakaa

A loneliness lingers,

like a silver needle under my black skin. 

No horn to scream through for help,

Only the music of Dex, Bud, Prez, Web

and the Hawk come to visit

“Around Midnight”,

Let the precious bad settle to the salty bottom –

Hoping all is well with you and yours,



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