- Satchmo, and: Second Linin’
When Louis was just ten, he fired a gunInto the air of a gracious midnight.Then, like an awkward little sun,He sat in prison, generating light,Until they kicked him back onto the street.His lips went looking now for things to kissAnd found a vicious cornet, coiled ‘round heat.He put it in his satchel, made it hiss.The ladies down in Storyville could tellA tale or two about these early years.The street was hot and improvised as Hell,But love was never far from Louis’ ears.He went into a studio with his five,And music, now itself, came out alive.
They were only kids,but they blew the nosesthey had found like angels.I know, because I saw themthe morning after,in a café on Bourbon Street,as I sat in stenciled shade,scoffing po’ boysand drinking chicory coffee.I heard them comingthrough the haze of hangover,through the nagging cicadasof the inner ear.Saw them approachingthrough the wavering heatpeeling off the roadand the lingering perfumesof the vanished carnival girls.And as they passed in front of meI felt their iron rhythmtaking root in my hair,heard a melody of thoughtbegin playing in my brainwhich has never yet played out,a melody not of beingso much as becoming,of becoming hot. [End Page 438]
Andrew Pidoux is the author of Year of the Lion (Salt, 2010). He lives in London on the Isle of Dogs.