A Hand Extended


So I’ve been listening to Miles. You might know him as Mr. Davis or the coolest cat in the room. Any room. Smooth as can be while his man tickles piano keys. He is jazz music personified. Now, if an artist is simply a mirror of the style and mood of his time, then take to that smoky bar circa 1959. I’ll pull up a chair stop and stare at a man in his prime. Improvised. And it was televised while he let that trumpet slide. Right on down the street to where star crossed lovers meet to the sound of the beating heart and say they’ll never part. Long as that music pours from the Victrola in the store window and that solo crescendos and junkies smoke that endo around the back of the club. Hoping to get some love from lady day waiting in the wings for her swan song to sing.

I’ll bet if u step on certain floor boards in those boarded up New York City speakeasies a little jazz will come whispering out. Of this I have no doubt.

But how can something be so soothing and yet, so miserable.
So upstanding and yet, so contemptible.
So fleeting and yet, so memorable.

See Miles always kept a little something up his sleeve. A little something for you and me so we might believe in magic you see.

And I’ve fallen in. Choked on blue notes for breakfast. Tubas at tea time. Clarinets at siestas. And now creole señoritas speak to me with half open eyelids. Batting and beckoning me to dance. When life extends you a hand, you take it. And dammit you dance and dammit you sing and dammit you shake and dammit you’re King. If only for a night. The Sultan of the speakeasy. Jack of all trades. A royal flush that is dressed in spades.

Miles understood till the end of his days. Understood it when that baseline came in. When the piano took second. Understood the contradiction. And when life did beckon. He grabbed it quick by the hand and never relented.

Not even for a second. Not even for a moment. What do you reckon?

Now I went to one of these prohibition saloons. I scrapped the boards with my fingernails. I pressed my ear against the wall and you know what I heard?


I guess it wasn’t worth saving.