"DC/Harlem" (for duke ellington)

by Brian Gilmore


Winter 1998, p. 151-2

i gotta scholarship.
gonna learn how to paint classics.
i'm a colorful guy
wear regal clothes
i'm gonna give the world
beautiful night portraits.
people.
places.
hearts that break and mend.
negro worlds that reek
of grits and gravy.
cities full of fancy cars.
perfumed ladies
dressed carefully for church
postal workers.
pool sharks.
domestics.
dancers.

but
i wanna play piano.
make mood my medium
rhythm my rhapsody.
harmony
swinging
swaying my
urban indigo
canvas
conveying
the colored
relics
of my youth.

 

howard theatre hanger
headed for harlem
make my living
brushing
broad strokes
producing
passionate paintings
musical murals
a sumptuous
universe
of sensuous
melody
telling
emotional
tales
of old black
women with
wrinkled saddened faces
educated men
driving taxis down
american streets
full of
forgotten dreams
that are now
just sleepless nights
years and years
of the same old
blues tune
played
on juke boxes
in familiar places
where the drinks
are cold
women are pretty
music is hotter
than neighborhoods
we crowd
during summer days
in the western world
where my piano
has become my paint brush...

    

Home | About Callaloo | Workshops | Virtual Exhibitions | Back Issues
Subscribe to Callaloo | Events | Contact Callaloo