Sentimental Man

by , under Daily Prompt, photography, Poetry

RB was always saying he taught

his daughter to sing out “Bird”

when he asked her

who was the greatest musician

ever had lived,

playing records to prove it.

RB would make tapes of Chick Webb

or Oscar Pettiford, all the greats

who died young,

before RB’s age

which was 40, give them to everyone

ask them “Do you hear this shit?”

RB was the caretaker

of a derelict block-wide 20′s hotel

owned by a syndicate

and at night RB would direct men hired off the street

to pick and pull and strip

every valuable thing:

bronze sconces shaped like ladies,

burnished nickel doorknobs,

granite planters,

copper wires buried deep in plaster,

marble slabs from

the crapper floors,

push-button light switches, custom-milled cherry beading

while he blared Clifford Brown, Booker Little,

Eddie Lang, Freddie Keppard, Lee Morgan, Fats Novarro

on the boom box he kept by the scale

writing down the weight of everything

always mentioning the musicians and when they died,

thumping his pencil to keep time.

 

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