Too Marvelous for WordsbyAngeline©
Papa Jo plays jazz
in clean white socks and soft shoes
so he can muffle the bass drum.
Let the hi hat shimmer four-four.
Drive it steady. Don't drop no bombs,
but carry it on swinging faster than wind
while bells blare, axes moan, bones swoop.
It all fits like a crazy syncopated puzzle,
pumping a piston-smooth copacetic ride.
Papa Jo rides the bus most nights, cups dice
in his nimble drum dance hands,
blows seven come eleven.
It's cold on the bus.
The gig in Podunk is hours away,
but the dice are rolling hot,
rattling and tapping sweet music.
Papa Jo laugh, grimaces.
Maybe he's the instrument.
Maybe the drums play him.
Every day he has the blues a little more
because even when you serve your country,
you still can't eat off white plates,
can't show no pain when Prez disappears,
smiling past detention barracks doors.
Papa Jo plays night after night, never slowing.
He's fifty years without a home, and years
roll on seven come eleven.
He hasn't got time to explain his references,
but if his wide smile shrinks as the ladies fall
and cafe society dims, the music still swings.
Somewhere blues are ever jumpin.
Somewhere Mister Five-by-Five growls
Sorry Baby, sorry to my heart, Prez wails,
sax horizontal, Count nods the signal,
and Papa Jo is flying, ringing clarion clear.
- Add a