Miles Davis lived around the block from me / deep in the upper west side of Manhattan island.

Photo by Florencia Viadana / Unsplash

by Lawrence George Jaffe

Miles Davis lived around the block from me
deep in the upper west side of Manhattan island.

He played like one man could be an island
living for his horn that paid his daily bread
living in this house made of gingerbread, on
West 77th Street while I lived on West 76th.

I would see him every now and again going
into that brownstone that his horn built.

   — I got to meet miles

Walked round the block, walked round
the clock where Miles stood outside his
homestead just proud as peacock.

He told me how much he liked San Francisco women
because their bottoms were so round not flat
from riding subways all days, he said with smile.

Nudging me, guy hood joke “You know what I mean.”

We went inside past the New York façade
into his musical domain —
headquarters for lonely horn players

The purity of Miles’ trumpet leans into me
he sings it blue.  My eyes tear uncontrollably.

He has touched melodies that riff with magic,
I escape ego with this horn. It is evolution of life
in notes counterpoint.  My fingers feel broken,
wanting to make the same sounds with words
— that staccato lip thing that merges horn with man.

— Miles showed me his trumpet
in this house of sugar coated dreams.

When I was a kid I dreamed of playing trumpet
but I wore braces on my teeth… they said I would
cut my lips to ribbons and bleed on my horn.

I looked up with tears and thought Miles,

Miles always bleeds on his horn

For his entire professional career, Larry Jaffe has been using his art to promote human rights. He was Poet-In-Residence at the Autry Museum, a featured poet in Chrysler’s Spirit in the Words poetry program, co-founder of Poets for Peace, helped spearhead the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry project, former Poet Laureate Youth for Human Rights, the Florida Beat Poet Laureate, and the recipient of the Saint Hill Art Festival’s Lifetime of Creativity Award. He has six books of poetry: Unprotected Poetry, Anguish of the Blacksmith’s Forge, One Child Sold, In Plain View, 30 Aught 4, Sirens and Man without Borders.