Jazz is dead
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Jazz is dead

 James H Duncan
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 James H Duncan
Jazz is dead
by James H Duncan  FollowFollow
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James H Duncan is a New York native and the editor of Hobo Camp Review. He is currently engaged to his Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter, but admits...read more to ravenous affairs with various bottles of wine on the side. If you see him minding his own damn business at a railway platform, that's called research, so leave him be. Apt, Reed Magazine, Zygote In My Coffee, and The Battered Suitcase, among others, have welcomed his poetry and short stories. More at http://jameshduncan.blogspot.com
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Jazz is dead
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jazz is dead, bop, cool, all, and every so-called jazz
joint in New York City seems to hang a sign
of reeking death and disease out front, prophesizing
great shows within for cover charges that no
honest bum or jazz lover can afford, because
jazz does not know money, and the moneyed cannot know
jazz, because jazz spends too much time drinking
behind the club with blues and too much time
dancing in the basement with swing, long forgotten
swing—beautiful spinning dresses and white jacket swing
jazz is not a regal affair; jazz is sweat with style, crazed feet
jabbing at the floor, exhaled everything clouding a small room
packed with the lowdown miners of the soul, and sometimes
jazz is death alone, stone silent in a room with rotgut wine
and cigarette smoke streaming through a dime-store radio
the soundtrack of a love-derailed train, a mass-murdered heart
there is no cover charge to watch a man die beside his radio
is there? there is no cover charge to hang down in the alley
with the other nighthawks, is there? where is this, the Bowery?
Soho? I can no longer tell, yet there they are, you can see
them through the door, getting ready to play in their tuxedoes
men and woman sitting at little tables waiting, hands folded
and the man at the door with a red box ready for the money, a stoic
bartender with a row of perfectly polished glasses behind him
all through that door, all waiting for you, but not you, per say
but a better you, a better dressed you, a better paid you
they want to show you the carcass of a great beast that once
roamed free and wild, soothing the wounds of a mob of
lonesome men and women, striving to hold on to the night
just long enough to say they felt the world breathe at least once
—a deep inhale before the long blow of death’s improvisation

Also by James H Duncan

2 comments

Discussion

  25 months ago
Jazz is not dead. But some twisted doppelgänger walks in its place...
  3 years ago
Yeah...you nailed it.
 

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