243 West 63rd Street

black and white keys are bullets from a piano 
loaded in your eyes then fired by trigger fingers
curled around the doorknob where you lived 
at 63rd and West End someone calling out "who's there?" 

when I would stand outside listening for the ricochet 
of silences as if there would still be echoes 50 years on
instead of shots from the projects across the street
and tasting the gunsmoke of heroin-grey sky

smelling jazz salts revives me from 
touching the numbers on your door,
the rooms now empty of music, no piano in the kitchen
fact: our apartment was a block from your house 

Thelonious Sphere Monk Circle of 5ths 
where the rhinoceros statue was cemented head first
by its horn in the ground as if a fat-man trumpet player 
made a swan-dive of scales from the balcony above

the rooms now full of music the color of money, 
tickle the ivories tickles your teeth with diamonds
until the piano player calls it quits and closes the shades
each note recluse as the door bangs open

the new tenants brush past me coming down the steps
in overstuffed coats as if whatever music was left in the walls
they've hidden in pockets or packed for extra warmth 
and smuggle down to the subway take the A train to Harlem 

where the notes escape like a flock of birds
riffing into the sky

The Sunday Muse

12 thoughts on “243 West 63rd Street

    1. Thanks! Yes, I lived a block from where he spent most of his life, but not while he was alive. I would walk by all the time and stop and try to imagine the music that must have been coming out.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “I came here to blow, now, stay cool while I blow.
    You all dug him once, because you were hipped that he was solid:
    How can you now come on so square, now that he’s tapped out of this world?” (Lord Buckley)

    Liked by 1 person

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