Poem for Pee Wee Russell

Ah Pee Wee Russell
dirtiest clarinet in town
jass-writers back then all cranky
clamoring for the Dorseys or hell
anything more diluted than this,
anything cleaner neater spiffier
NOT you, so what’d you do? You
blew it up their stiffasses
man they just didn’t get with
your wrinkled suits your
codeine twitch, if you’d been
black might’ve condescended such
earthy attack but a twitchin’
white man sounds like that? he’s

gonna get some flack, you
blooooosbastard you, your cig&
whiskey breath torpedoing
notes, such rebel notes, through

the fire of your
hot as hell licorice stick,
couldn’t even figure
that smoke from
the gigantor growling mass
of licks&tics from you, aiming that
clarinet both below their waists and
above their heads, they
couldn’t wait
to jasswrite column next, to
pan Pee Wee, maybe even
demand striped vest/straw hat
extradition, for
that somethin’ else that

they couldn’t wouldn’t call
DIXIEland nope, wasn’t all
muzzled and marketable
so, what was this
off-the-grid growl, these
tics of a
codeine-man, that inevitable stain on
on a late-late night tie?: FOOK ’em

man! stay right there on that
bandstand and let ’em glare, those without
a clue, into the air, smokyblue
air that was yours-not-theirs, and
hey you always had your lovers!
out there smokin
as you
smoked through the
smoke, soul
not for sale: Back in Your
Own Backyard,
Pee Wee Russell, you kept
on twitchin, tellin’
an authentic tale.


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