Until his health failed
January 5, 2013
We are beginning to see the first half of the 20th century as history. I find it odd. It was the time of my grandfather. An Irishman who worked the soil of PEI until his health failed and he spent days on his porch. Thinking. And my grandmother (on the other side) who boasted about how pretty she was as a young girl. And whispered in my ear that I had Indian blood in my veins.
These women of jazz were the great lovers of the twentieth century. They filled our ears with their pain and love, their spite and laughter.
Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937)
Love is an angry bed. Sheets are torn. Pillows born. Too small. And his words creep. Into your thoughts on tippy toes. Is there a bigger fool. Than a woman with her heart spread open.
9. A.M. All the morning fools. Are sucking up the lazy light. The silent man. In the photograph has disappeared. God is trying to pray. But Bessie can’t stop laughing.
Give them all the ‘lectric chair.
The Titanic left Queenstown Ireland for NY. The mayor was there. With his best friend. A little Scotch terrier. At another place. At the same time. Bessie married a security guard. They fought like cats. They ate the dog. Their appetite kept the night awake.
The audience was drunk. The band was jumping. Jack Johnson TKO’d Jim Flynn. In the Ninth. Bessie had another cigarette. She laughed so loud. When the bartender couldn’t put on his coat. I can hardly stand up for falling down.
Bessie was with her lover. When the car rolled over. Crushed poor Bessie’s legs. Smoke filled the air. Lungs doing what they are told. She didn’t want to die. Poor Bessie was buried anyway.
Fans collected money for her tombstone. Write something appropriate in stone. Her husband Jack. Put the cash in his pants. The dead got no worries. The living got to take care of themselves.