notes lodged inside a second-hand
instrument stripping his sound of all

vibrato he left behind like school

to earn a reputation      the Victrola
introduced in 1901 to respectable

homes where pianos would be soon

abandoned for shim-sham shimmies
as cane-chopping cotton-picking fads

danced their way across America

the Texas Tommy      the Turkey Trot
farmed to kids who couldn’t read

but could be taught in the modest

elegance of an outhouse      primitive
provocative      his duty to reveal

to a world that would call him King

the highest and lowest      blowing
so hard the mute flew out of his horn