Roy Bentley

Listening to Lester Young in a Pandemic

In one borough of a city nearly out of surgical masks,
a jazz station repeats like the dream of a better country.

Doctors and nurses labor around the clock, dictating
a Last Will & Testament between critically-ill patients—

given who we are as Americans, the respirator-rhythm
alleges we triumph or perish one grim breath at a time.

In nineteen fifty-four, the April of the year I was born,
no one in my family understood what an aerophone is

or that it fits in the woodwind family, given that a reed
is used to vibrate columns of air released. Nevertheless,

dancers prized Lester Young because he would blow
a tenor sax and sexualize All Creation: Lester heard

health and well-being and long life glide across a riff,
Oscar Peterson on the baby grand, redefining Lovely.

 

 

Comments
  1. Jane Ann Fuller on

    Love that beauty won’t be undone, not even in the darkest days!

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