Untitled Poem (for Bird)

Against the Current, No. 26, May/June 1990

Kim D. Hunter

That Charlie Parker had died Playing
in the city
of your choice
You knew who he was
In reality
Would you have gone
Attended the pre-corpse
Of a funky funky stone cold junky
Could you have struck up a conversation between sets
What would you have said:
“Oh … uh … Bird, I think your wings are burning”
In this nation of images

The city of your choice
Where the average child is nearly deaf
Where slum dwellers inject themselves
With perfume and fake gold
How could anyone know or care
That a human born with wings
In a storm of fire
Flew and blew heart away
While his wings burned

It seems a miracle that anyone cares
How he used that flame
In his
Spiral through the constellations
Oh yeah

He knew the route
His existentialist travel agent friends
Had put the consequences to him
Ripe and undeniable
And still and yet and even then
Would you have gone So far above the ground
With a plastic saxophone
What kind of motherfuckers
Were waiting for you
To return

May-June 1990, ATC 26

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