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Charlie "Bird" Parker
by Ed Bennett

Ephemeral as this smoke
rising in a sinuous dance
across the darkness,
a tenor sax smooths
the rough edges,
the abraded patch
where the words stroked,
then tore away.

Bird sings out from the vinyl
knowingly, familiarly,
part of my hurt yet
part of my comfort,
notes that rise and surround,
wax musical in a chord
that no one hears unless
the rent is due, the heart empty.

The music is like freedom
waving past structured sounds
but this freedom has a price
that will suck emotions dry,
finding you riding a skag horse
with nothing to hold on to
but the memory of your last riff
and your horn.

Play it, Bird,
make a prayer of it
for every screwed up soul
in a beggar's heaven.
Play the darkness into light
or at least into a corner
where the music takes its place
alive and well in your last riff.


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