The wolves may huff and puff
but they ainâ€™t got nothing on
apple sized cheeks
that blew sounds just as sweet
as the juice.
It donâ€™t mean a thing
if you donâ€™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 ladyâ€™s maid to lady day
from the whorehouse to
covering the waterfront
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.
Thatâ€™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
a horn player was growing up.
In a jim-crow dominated township
it was designed to be impossible
to graze in the grass
And now, it is said
we donâ€™t love the music.
Our faces are not in the audiences
of those who carry it on.
Our dollars arenâ€™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.
Â© 2004 Tichaona Chinyelu