and for Billie
A medley chosen for a saunter
Like deadly Begby hunting for marauders
Speaking with a kinship of Madrid proposals
Leaking all the vixens to the Royal hidden shemozzle
Better if I’m better in a flock of circling ouzels
Sing to me, O Nina, tell me I’ve been bamboozled
Flip your pages in your history, just for my perusal
Teach me something, teach me diddly dandy,
Teach me Mountains, teach me how to reach the Andes
Learn me something, say me something, to tell out all my family
Freeze me frizzles and frizzle my bedazzled,
Leave me fiddled with all my riddled up cadavers,
Skeletons melting in my closet tops and underneath my cave
My clubhouse in the backyard of Harang, on a record from my Dad
My dad the hero, My Dad De Niro, My Dad who played me straight a tune
Who slapped me on the wheels and taught me how to groove
He played with Blind Emile, he played at Red Bastilles,
Hit the hammond with a jumping, have you breaking out in mumps kid,
Get your shoulders shimmied and forgetting all your Munson’s,
Hit the St. Bernard in Zoot Suits having playas showing sumthin’
You got so much talent, there’s nothing sadder in the land of Storyville,
You waste it on a Porter gig, searching for salt to pour in gills
The poor are ill, sore and still, cherishing every moment,
more so than I, more so than why, more so than my…
And he never even got to hear you. Or learn of you.
And he had perfect pitch.
So play your horns for him.
Whether it’s brass, or bagpipes, or xylo, or rhythmic piano, a conundrum diablo.
Play that Prytania St. sonata.
For my boy, for his love, for his voice, for his honor.
For when I see him Walking Tour Number 2 with the Frommer’s.
For K.C., and B.B., who got to die young and innocent, before villainhood,
worrisome burdens me,
St. James Infirmary.