i can just see you,
charlie parker
watching television
at the stanhope hotel
hard of breath
hard of head and heart
i can see your glazed eyes
as you watched the juggler juggle
on the dorsey brothers stage show
and you juggled the drugs
with the loss of your daughter
you juggled your bebop revolution
with the aftermath
plane rides to los angeles
red eyes back to new york
days on end in a garage
you jazz players
love to lock yourself away
with the discipline
of a madman

thirty-four years old
but you must have looked
twenty years older
watching the juggler juggle
on that black and white television
and you laughed
you laughed and you laughed
and you laughed until you were choking
and the baroness asked
if you needed to go to the hospital
earlier that evening
and you refused
you couldn’t juggle any longer
but you knew
if you stayed where you were
you could die laughing.



Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.

One thought on “BIRD #1”

  1. Charlie Parker, such a haunting tale, a true Jazz legend of mammoth proportions yet so very human in the reasons for his fame. Encapsulated really well Brice.

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