jazz and whisky (for phife dawg)

on the night of phife dawg’s passing
I am drinking in a club
where there’s jazz on stage
a bowed bass singing

i don’t know enough tribe cuts
to call them all out here
but I think about him more often
than my own knowledge should suggest I might

we share the same disease
it’s killing me as it’s killed him
I’m dying here tonight with 
a whisky in my hand

I’m not an addict
I don’t crave sugar
I’m not in that sad kind of shape
but I know enough of those things to know

that tragedy gets hung on some people 
the way a shadow follows others
tacked to their heels like a comet trailing
so you go “damn that’s a sight to see”

even though you suspect
from the first time you see it
that it’s tied to a land mine or a bomb trigger
and the person trailing it ain’t long for the world

if I’m one of those
not long for the world

I hope I’m a comet
the way phife was a comet

it’s killing that he’s gone
a killing sort of moon in the sky tonight
a killing sort of breath I’m breathing tonight
I suck down a half dozen drinks

asking myself
in the only tribe line I know
if I can kick it and lying
that of course I can

I’m not worthy
of biting that line
not worthy
of anything more

than looking tonight
at grief and resignation
called up by a bowed bass
that somehow makes me cry

when an amateur chanteuse
sings “st. james infirmary”
sings “let him go god bless him”
and sitting with my whisky at the bar

I have no choice
but to cry
to ask for a blessing upon him
to let him go

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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