Coronation

it was mine before
you

my first
kiss
played trumpet
a first chair first kiss
                                   so
the silvery tang of
still-vibrating
lips
was already known
when yours
                     found
mine

Dizzy came with me
for twenty years you
clung
to hands that had
fingered
his puffer-fish cheeks
                                You didn’t
i did
oh yes
            i
did

kneeling at his feet
enthralled by the corrugated
lines
that cast his face
he was old and i
was
       not
so
when i lifted my hands
to touch as he blew
he only smiled
smiled ’round the
mouthpiece and
                              allowed
my childish fingers to
feel
his notes

no
      you
never gave Diz
but  you did
deliver some

King Buddy Bouldin
and his Louisiana moan,
the one that shot
                                through
you
the one that died
                                with
him
in the Jackson state home

the light that was Louis
beyond the white hanky
his Storyville horn
blowing
                Awake!
to the whores
was there ever such
                                   Joy
as his smile
                   ever such
                                    Sorrow
as his eyes

broken-hearted Bix
(who you wanted to be)
standing on a muddy bank
heeding  Louis’
                           clarion
call from a riverboat
upstream
oh, to have been
                            locked
years later in that
dirty room where they
hid, those two
hid
their skin just to
play
          together

Bird’s Red Rodney and
Duke’s Cootie Williams
the good clean life and
warm sweet sound of
Clifford Brown, who was
                                           all
and everything
                            Chet
was not

Chet
full of Oklahoma
California sun, was the
first
to come
              back
slinking in on the
smoke
of a song
sneaking in through the
cracks
of my heart

i made him
leave his
               horn
outside
until today
until tonight

tonight they are come
those who followed
                                    your
triple-tongued
                           retreat
all those years ago

cats come back to the
Kitty
a glorious stream of
scat and swing
strays
            scratching
at the door

and i have opened it
opened it
                 wide
have handed Chet his horn
been given a wink in return
a wink that says
                           We are Home
a wink that says
they are not
                      Yours
they are not
                      Ours
but
       Mine
                Mine
                          mine
forevermore

what’s that?
Naw,
          you
keep Wynton
(he’s an ass)
take him with
you and
               move
on over
now
‘cause
             Miles
is at the door

©srogers 9 Feburary 2011