183

Kind of Blue

By

Sign in to view read count
pearl's mad at miles
told everybody her business
by telling his

how can we make love
to the keys, the fingers that pushed out
the sweet melody
that beat the kink
right outta cicely's neck

what happened to the oiled cotton courageous
and who did she become
oddly silent
her story the darker greek we've sung

we are not supposed to forgive miles
for what he did
supposed to give away
his music to the tolerant masses
who don't mind the irony of this antihero
the sneer that looks as if
it holds a limerick
holds a lullaby instead
coaxing lovers to open
soften and croon

pearl says we should never
forgive miles
says keep him at the gates, like tantalus
begging peter forever
wishing the keys from his hands

but i think i can forgive him
forgive him like i do my daddy
a little every day

his hands didn't always hurt
didn't always push
no
mostly, they carried
soil, pipe tobacco and matches
inks from fountain pens
type for the books he'd set
old books sold with mama
brother from the hospital
tears when his father died

maybe pearl doesn't know
that love from daughters is complicated
that without forgive
there is nothing left
no memory that is not stuck to his face
a garden
a record under the hi-fi
sketches of spain,
my father had

see, if i don't forgive daddy
then i miss all of miles
all the sticky croon
the warm silver tones that give
the slow flicker of low light on water

both my daddy and miles are gone now
but they probably too cool
to hang out with each other

as i pull out old photos
of my father kneeling with eggplants
i pull another tune from the anthology that is miles
the puzzle of love these men lived

i keep them in just enough light
to keep their shape, but not their color
a kind of blue


Note: Inspired by Pearl Cleage's essay, "Mad at Miles."

Shop

More Articles

Read The Fire in Coltrane’s Lungs Jazz Poetry The Fire in Coltrane’s Lungs
by Larry Jaffe
Published: August 2, 2014
Read Kissing Cousins: Jazz + poetry = jazz poetry Jazz Poetry Kissing Cousins: Jazz + poetry = jazz poetry
by Jeff Winke
Published: May 1, 2014
Read The Answer is Jim Jazz Poetry The Answer is Jim
by William DeLancey Adamson
Published: December 11, 2013
Read Birds with Long Red Tails Jazz Poetry Birds with Long Red Tails
by Adriana Carcu
Published: October 28, 2012
Read Poetry in Motian Jazz Poetry Poetry in Motian
by William DeLancey Adamson
Published: November 23, 2011
Read Black Sage (for Henry Grimes) Jazz Poetry Black Sage (for Henry Grimes)
by Gordon Marshall
Published: July 17, 2011
Read "U.K.: Ultimate Collectors' Edition" Extended Analysis U.K.: Ultimate Collectors' Edition
by John Kelman
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Erik Friedlander: A Little Cello?" Interviews Erik Friedlander: A Little Cello?
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Nik Bartsch's Mobile: Continuum" Extended Analysis Nik Bartsch's Mobile: Continuum
by John Kelman
Published: April 15, 2016
Read "Ecuador Jazz 2016" Live Reviews Ecuador Jazz 2016
by Mark Holston
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ
by David Becker
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Phil Barnes' Best Releases of 2016" Best of / Year End Phil Barnes' Best Releases of 2016
by Phil Barnes
Published: December 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!