All Poems Written By Golda Solomon
All Poems are Copyrighted© and may not be used
without written permission of Golda Solomon/JazzJaunts

Legacy | Harlem (1965) West to East | Bop #2 for Felipe Camacho | SO WHAT

In the land of jazz one last note holds me
Miles orders Herbie to blister those ivories. White
and black keys. No wrong notes, says Monk. All blue and smokin'
Jass me baby in the kingdom of my life,
Sheridan Square Decreed To This Princess. Her Daddy gone.
The royal moonstone ring gentle on my finger.

As I snap to a jazz rhythm, charred memories pulse through fingers
rounded by European teachers urging classical notes. Me
going for piano lessons in Greenwich Village, an era long gone
The subway from Brooklyn, my father mixing white
medicine potions with pestle and mortar. His life
reigning over this neon neighborhood, vibrant and smokin'

My mother, his queen, tells tearful tales. He died while smoking.
His heart attacks that last puff. Nicotine stained finger.
"Oh, how he loved you. You kept him alive. You were his life.
He lived for you." A princess can only bear so much. Me,
twelve years into my history, ragged cuticles. White
and black keys silenced. Piano slammed shut. Music gone.

I am lonely. Simple routines derailed. My hero gone.
I get street smart. My innocence soiled, smokin'
Lucky Strikes. The widowed queen works dressing white
at-home moms. Royal coffer emptied. She does not lift a motherly finger.
I fall from schoolgirl grace. Any day you can find me
hiding out in local cinemas watching the Hollywood life.

I grow up vamping to "Cement Mixer", my "Putty, Putty" life
Brooklyn days, Manhattan nights, cords cut, I am gone.
Scratchy vinyl 78's my baggage. Father's sulphur scent fills me.
The stuff that dreams are made of, smokin'.
I am on my parent's bed, daddy lifting me higher, higher. Finger
poppin' Sweet Basil always Village Drugs. Black and white

soda for Doc's daughter
. Jazz, champagne to this 1960's white
Miss Ann. A blind giant, three horns in his mouth blows my life.
I am at home on this range with black cowboys. Cinderella hour, I crook my finger.

Yellow checkered chariot awaits. Wisdom teeth cut on pork pie hats, Dolphy gone.
Bamboo, the tender of the realm, Five Spot smokin'
I roll a prescriptive joint. There are no accidents says Freud. Jazz chose me.

I'm envoy in this kingdom of black and white notes. Though my father is gone
the bop of my life is copacetic with my being. Music still smokin’
I finger truths in my jazz catechism. His voice in the sounds that fill me.

Harlem (1965) West to East
Bowlegged mothers, sisters, aunties
Fallen arches, tired, blessed sleep
Only to begin again and again
Nurses and aids, scuffed white shoes
Outline of bunions and corns
Worn down heels, negotiating shifts
Big sisters pulling little sisters by the hand
Tugging at tight braids, pulling up socks
Knees buffed shiny with Jergens
Dispassionate parochial plaids of pleated skirts
"Don't you make me late again for school"
Brothers trying to keep up
Clip-on ties, brigade of navy kites flying up Lenox Ave
Against a sky of light blue shirts
Oversized jackets and long pants
Get two years of wear if you fold the cuffs under
Bits of white fluff clinging to future afros
Book bags slappin' against gabardine
Old men, stoop sitting bookends
Milky grey rimmed eyes and alcoholic egos
Early morning pints in communal brown bags
A lost sister, legs splayed
"Hey, gimme a taste man"
Scent of southern politeness
Rancid garbage
Underfed dogs poking into overturned cans
Bunches of fresh mustard, turnip and
Collard greens sold daily from the backs of
Trucks and station wagons "Fresh fish here"
"Those whitey owned markets show us no respect"
Wilted heads of lettuce dreams, days old passing for produce

Middle class high rise condos and coops
Butting against projects and boarded up buildings
Intricate brass doorknobs, remains of another era
Harlem Hospital, Lenox Terrace
History of a people on shelves at a collection called Schomberg
Get clean or high at the "Y"
Glassine packets of white powder
Folded green backs slipped palm to palm
Suited men hawking Muhammed Speaks and bean pies
Belly's full of jazz, chicken and waffles from Wells
Minton's open
Showman's open
Gold Brick open
22 West where high collared preachers conversate
about the 'man', sports, latest politician on the take
"Hey girl, this slice of watermelon must be for one
of those puny pale guys downtown"
116th St. crosstown bus
Changing voices of puberty ranting "the dozens"
"Hey faggot" "Your mama didn't think so last night"
Baptist Church mediates the 5th Avenue divide
Museos Del Barrio, a storefront on Third
Smells of La Marqueta
Bodega beginnings
Park Ave uptown is cheap chic
Clothing hung from high racks
Un-easy truce with the Po-leese
Knight sticks dangling off blue uniformed hips
Cars whizzing down the drive protected by an avenue named Pleasant
Highways and projects named after dead white presidents and generals
Patsy's on First, pizza and old world dining
Kisses on both cheeks, jowls held by pinky ringed men
No Blacks
No Puerto Ricans
No longer safe
"Hey, ja hear, Frank was in the neighborhood"
Sinatra sighting at the Ded-lightful Coffee Shop

Bop #2 for Felipe Camacho
Did she put soft hands
Lacquered fingernails across her belly
Hide your growing presence under a large skirt size
Whisper to you in an educated tongue
Why she was abandoning you
Pass on this blues that hums through your genes

Come to me my melancholy baby

She squeezed you out three months early
Under antiseptic lights of a Bogota hospital
Buzz and heat of the incubator
Tubes in your veins, machine mother cooing to you
Sir name: sephartic wanderer
First name: popular hero on daytime radio
Mother: unknown
She signed herself out and disappeared

Come to me my melancholy baby
Cuddle up and don’t be blue

Did you cry for mother’s milk
Or were you a stoic infant warrior
Heart shaped scars keep intravenous secrets
Colombiano spirits daring you to live
I held you on your four month birthday
You, no bigger than my two hands touching

Come to me my melancholy baby
Come on my honey dear
While I kiss away each tear

Baptized by vodka cleansing my throat
Baptized by sweat dripping from Tony Williams' sticks
Thick    Summer    Sunday    Afternoons
at the Vanguard

Miles ready
Horn like a flyswatter, ready to strike down
this whippersnapper of a man/child
the beast in a muted horn

Tony drawing Miles in and driving Miles' sounds
Out there
Out there
Miles knew
asking this upstart of the sticks to his schoolyard
Miles' game and
Tony took over
like those street players on those raggedy assed
west 4th Street courts and
Avenue of Whose America

Lives played out on asphalt
Woosh of ball going cleanly through mesh net
My hands - gripping the fence
Looking in at perfect pick-up games
Blue/black and tans who were fucked over by the man
Come on! Come on!
Dart, pass, dribble, shake and shoot
Beat up sneakers squeakin'
Smokin' up the pavement

Basketball    Is    Jazz

Tony workin' his backboard
Hitting that hi hat

Splat   Splat

Honing his ax in Miles' woodshed and
Miles answered
Miles answered
Smiled that funny smile that looked evil
Hunched over, shook spit out of his horn
walked off the stage and
left him to solo

Nets and hoops shimmied under naked sun

Sckutcha Kuh

    Sckutcha Kuh

        Sckutcha Kuh

K chuh

K chuh

K chuh

So What!