Dizzy At The Nice Jazz Festival

In the Cimeiz ruins
where gladiators hacked
one another, Imperial

Rome is down for the count
and Imperial USA sends only
her best. I stand beside a

memorial statue to Pops while
Dizzy, magical cat, does
battle with his age, coasting

staccato, hitching a ride on
the Riviera breeze over
Illinois Jacquet honking

en francais. And two lovers,
unborn when Dizzy pointed to
heaven, all brass, and made old

Gabriel hip, embrace each other,
double-timed; their shaggy dog
pants canine hurrahs on Getz.

On a tree nearby, wide as a thigh,
‘Yves, je t’aime, Brigitte’ …
penknifed letters give blood

to Eros comping for Diz. And
Dizzy burst like a lover
full of lover souvenirs.

Nice, 1978
(from the book ‘Black’)

Goodbye, Diz

Dizzy said, “Why don’t you
stick around?”

and we watched some tennis on TV

and he blew his mouthpiece
to keep his chops in order

and he showed me a photo of Billie
inside his trumpet case

and he let me know
that we knew something together

and I showed him Niagara Falls.

My life was something better
that afternoon; and now he’s gone

I hate death and I’m very very sad
because he was something

I wanted my life to be,
not just facts but hip and wise

and amazed, for he told me
he’d walked on holy ground,

“You feel different, you feel light,
it’s something else, man."

            Love does not mean all is well
            in this world of black and white,

            but Dizzy was music itself, and
            that which is the heart remembers him.

(from the book 'Echosystem')

(photo by James Strecker)