All Night Jazz All The Time

All Night Jazz All The Time

black and blue
another black and white
fireworks display
day or night

mighty whitey in the jazz
at the first beboptist cathedral
how can a poor martyr sleep
listening to gargoyles
we never let in
cept to favor us with their play
drop some coinage in the cap
step outside, lean, smoke a doobie

outside you can hear them inside
holding it tight, a Parker riff
thrums, glissando, percussion
will the moment sugar over
or explode?
white man’s burden, what a load

keep a stiff
upper riff
being black
is a curse and a gif

you ain’t black
you ain’t black
ifs you ain’t got my back
scatty do bah bah boom
Obama just entered the room
can you say predator drone

400 years of
400 years of
waking up blue
essence precedes
existence exceeds
400 years of being black

people of color
perish in pens
we play at aliens
in blue screen zoom cells
who knew Ted Koppel
had azaleas in his living room?

O, the political horror
get out get out get out of me
exorcists scream behind
fashy see-thru persona masks
resembling crotchless panties
or proxemic prophylactics,
if you prefer

with no sports to take up their time
what will young black men do
take a knee, try to be
that accident that set them free
can’t we’ll all just get along

you’d think we’d be happy
to have squeezed Dylan’s lemon dry
and have a mystique scapegoat
handy, and hoarse as a death rattle
to carry the strummy song
of our white man’s blues,
but you’d be wrong

King of the Bingo Game
an invisible man
at the edge of being
over and over again they spin it
always ending the same way
bebop bebop black fade blue

O, find me an arkestra
Sun Ra, or Pharaoh’s honking horn
a primal baby’s keen
that splits wide open
the black and bluing sea
an Exodus of notes set free
Prince of Peace hear my plea

well it’s going to end badly
what’s black and white and red all over
the universe in a blender
the stuff of legal tender
drink up, Eli is coming over
coronavirus just cover
just look the other way

play me like a saxophone
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
kind of blue, but with a gat
Billy Cobham ratatatatatatatat
in a land with more guns than people

there’s a universe, I’m told,
heading the other way
away from the bone star graves ahead
at the end of time
if I can make it across the heavy traffic
and not get deer-struck in the lights
I think I’ll hitch a ride
or maybe I’ll just keep it all
every single drop of it
bottled up inside

John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelancer based in Australia.  He is a former reporter for The New Bedford Standard-Times.