coffee with verse, not chicory.

So that smiling guy I keep running into at my new morning coffee hang, Cafe Rose Nicaud (the name has historical resonance) is Chuck Perkins, a poet and the MC/host of local variety shows at Donna's and Bacchanal and elsewhere.
So yesterday morning, he lays this one on me, recited from memory:

"This is for my melody makers"

This is for my artist of virtuosity
Who kept the music in the mystery

For my artistic vanguard
Who came back when times were hard
Who sometimes came back to nothing
But still came back
Underrated and uninsured
Putting theirs horns where their mouth was

This is for my buck jumpin
Pied pipers
Second lining my people back home

This is for my melody makers
For my cowbell ringers
And my tambourine shakers

It's for the Lady Buck Jumpers
the Rebirth Brass band
and the Storyville Stompers

It's for the Soul Rebels
And the Hot Eight
For the Lil Rascals wanting a dime
When all they got is eight

It's for Kermit Ruffin
And the Barbecue Swingers
For Marva Wright
And all my blues singers

For singing dem songs
That heals our pain
It's for Shannon Powell
And lil Liza Jane

I got Liza
He got Liza
We got Liza
And you got'em too

I'm from the Nola
And I thought I told ya
It's for the Golden Comanche
And the Wild Magnolias

It's for Troy Sawyer
And Kevin O'day
Kid Chocolate Brown
And John Boutte


It's for Dr Michael White
keeping it tight
and for Uncle Lionel
Still raising hell

We sho gon miss him when we die

It's for Dave Torkanowsky
And Walter Wolfman
Trombone Shorty
And the whole Andrews clan
And the Marsalis clan
And the Battiste clan too
Charmaine Neville
This poem's for you
And don't forget Kid Jordan
And the whole Jordan crew

We love her scat
and we love your razzale dazzle
It's for Irvin Mayfield
And Germaine Bazzle

It's for loving our city
We ain't given up an inch
It's for Stanton Moore
Bob and George French

It's for Phillip Manuel
And Leah Chase
Hurlin Riley on drums
Roland Guerin on Bass

Holla if you hear me
It's for Corey Henry
On Trombone
Kirk Joseph
on Sousaphone
Donald Harrison on Sax
I take off my hat
To Benny Jones
And Leroi Jones
And all our musicians
Who came back home

This poem's for you.

We'll work today
If you play tonight
Sing us a song
that make us alright
the sounds of your horn
give us strength to fight

we'll gut the houses
if you play your sax
and we'll swing the hammer
if you swing your ax
we'll work with haste
just you play your drum
please bring the bass
and we'll have some fun
run with the sounds
as hot as the sun
buma bum bum bum bum
play ya drum
son put down your gun
let's have some fun
work during the day
but when the night time come

let us dance

(published with the author's permission)

February 27, 2007 5:57 PM | | Comments (1)

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