but a voice blowing away the dust
on our daily lives      same songs      forced
into surrender well beyond
all spirituals      and minstrel tunes
sounding itinerant syncopations
in an age of decadence      no rue      nor gumbo
simple as that      what pains us must be
turned into gospel      swing
the angel and the devil separate but equal
underground      where the voices are
for if a trumpet can      why a trombone can too
no name at dawn but ragtime’s birthed
amalgam on American soil
sounding its big noise      credit due
where lips to ecstatic blows
had gotten their lilt as a moan went through
you      high church      smoking
on a hotbed      till the night wore all of us
out      the missed gigs      flat notes
going flatter in the filtered light
where folklore colossi were playing for whores
on scandal sheets      spindled pages
of dime-store novels wafting in
the perfume of his life      his legendary
voice      in which no recordings      survived