Something inside of you. Besides a beat.

August 3, 2012


I’d heard about their tragedies. Saw some of them on television. (As middle-aged women.) But they were girls when they started. Girls performing in a man’s world. Black, some, performing in a white world. And they were angry. And full of life. Laughing. Smoking. Falling in love. And they had wonderful voices. And made you feel that there was something inside of you. Besides a beat.

Read Saints of Jazz.

………………………

Anita O’Day (October 18, 1919 – November 23, 2006)

The doctors leaned over. Slit open Anita’s throat. Like they were parting the Red Sea. Like they were opening a zipper. White Studebakers rolled slowly down the lane. Her eyes opened with surprise. A gurgle that sounded like laughter.

On the road. Cheek against the glass. Too many buses. Too many stops. In empty rooms. Too many handsome men with dark sunglasses. And wicked laughs. Garters slid so slowly down a calf. And you sometimes had to wait hours. For the sun to reappear. Empty hearts. And wallets. Promises were made. So sweet. The morning light. Stockings over chairs.

Raped in a gas station washroom. 31 storms crossed 6 states. Killing 340. The worst smog in London. Four to 8,000 died. But who’s counting. The floor was wet. And the mirror was out of focus. A radio was crying. A Studebaker pulled up for gas.

Too many hangers dripping. With dreams. Too many office buildings after hours. Elevators out of service. Too much talk about nothing. A heart sling. Gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda. And His name in vain. Thrown at the shadows from the chair over there. Too many cloudy mirrors. Too many cheap diners. Too many miles going nowhere. Too many walls for company.

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