Today in the taxi I drove two jazz musicians to LaGuardia, the singer and her husband, the pianist. I recognized them right away. We talked about Duke Ellington. We drove by Marcus Garvey Park and it twinkled like his plume hat and gold epaulets.
The pianist lifted his hand like an axle and the singer skinned the angles of the road. We moved east, we were people who loved music, who were not bothered as long as we heard its copper ore.
Two-way-flowing matter through mirrors breathing air, Ellington was a beauty. He fired Mingus by saying: “I must say I never saw a large man so agile— I never saw anybody make such tremendous leaps! The gambado over the piano carrying your bass was colossal.”
Imagine being fired by your idol: you might curl into yourself like the ear, with its glossy snail and white stirrup, lost in the dark until something familiar beamed back into it.