Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Bagel Shop Jazz

Shadow people, projected on coffee shop walls
Memory formed echoes of a generation past,
Beating into now.

Nightfall creatures, eating each other,
Over a noisy cup of coffee.

Mulberry-eyed girls, in black stockings,
Smelling vaguely of mint jelly,
Making profound remarks on the shapes of navels,
Wondering how the short Sunset week
Became the long Grant Avenue night.
Love-tinted, beat angels,
Doomed to see their coffee dreams
Crushed on the floors of time,
As they fling their arrow-legs
To the heavens,
Losing their doubts in the beat.

Turtle-neck angel guys, black haired dungaree guys,
Caesar-jawed, with synagogue eyes,
World travelers, on the forty-one bus,
Mixing jazz with paint talk,
High rent, Bartok, classical murders,
The pot shortage, and last night's bust.
Lost in a dream world,
Where time is told with a beat.

Coffee-faced Ivy-Leaguers, in Cambridge jackets,
Whose personal Harvard was a Fillmore district step,
Weighted ddown with Conga drums,
The ancestral cross, the Othello laid curse,
Talking of Bird, Diz and Miles,
The secret, terrible hurts,
Wrapped in cool hipster smiles,
Telling themselves under the talk,
This shot must be the end,
Hoping the beat is really the truth.

The guilty police arrive.

Brief, beautiful shadows, burned on the wall of night.

--Bob Kaufman


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