Elsie: you badmouth blackmen and halfbreeds.
Well, never mind – you were born in Houston.
But your flesh burns like a stove-boxed log
against mine to the Boston beat.
We’re the sleekest pair on the dancefloor.
The jazz trombone brays like a carhorn.
And I think while I consider your curves
they’d have lynched me in Wilsonland.
My heart doesn’t crack,
tight with troubles, anymore.
Who cares if roses, mimosas
don’t last two evenings?
What days deal me
matters less than this
cracked black jazz
all Europe is dancing to.
Mr Trombone comes from Honolulu.
Mr Saxophone comes from Barbados.
And the big halfcaste with a hairy nose
who’s snarling a comic song
jumped Port-de-Paix one night.
‘And which one,’
(And all with tight-tufty hair)
thinks the Belgian tart,
‘Which one shall I take home with me
so I don’t get bored tonight.’