Jazz Stanzas

Jazz Stanzas

The wolves may huff and puff
but they ain’t got nothing on
apple sized cheeks
that blew sounds just as sweet
as the juice.

It don’t mean a thing
if you don’t take the A train
and hear the lady from baltimore
with the sanitizing stench of bleach on her
from scrubbing those damn white steps.
From lady’s maid to lady day
from the whorehouse to
covering the waterfront
until finally
it was heroin, not her man
that had lady singing the blues.

A trumpeter walks in front of a horse
leading a perennial procession for you.
That’s the image that comes to mind
when I think of you.
Your smile derided.
Your character declared a caricature
but Ghana loved you.
You were pops to the world.

In a mining township
a hundred miles from Johannesburg
exposed to jazz, traditional music
and apartheid
a horn player was growing up.
In a jim-crow dominated township
it was designed to be impossible
to graze in the grass
but somehow
you did.

And now, it is said
we don’t love the music.
Our faces are not in the audiences
of those who carry it on.
Our dollars aren’t spent on it.
We have allowed it to leave
and because of that
it no longer belongs to us.

But this is simply not true.

© 2004 Tichaona Chinyelu

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About Tichaona

Tichaona Bright, Assertive, Caring, Semi-Unreconstructed The sister of Ifeoma Lover of Sankara Kono, natural Afrakan aesthetics and free-forming Who feels like a woman scorned (hell hath no fury) when it comes to colonialism, delight in being Earth born, and trepidation at thoughts of my son's future Who needs water like its lifeblood, comradely behavior and reciprocity; Who fears dying a stranger in a strange land, the death of revolutionary Afrakan culture and paper tigers who think they're the real thing Who gives wholehearted affection to those I love, a damn and the barrel of my pen Who would like to change the meek of the Earth into the conscious inheritors/caretakers of the Earth Who hopes that what goes up must come down without destroying the ground I softly tread upon Who lived a sad life until revolutionary winds blew my way Munhamo-Chinyelu

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