Jazz Fantasia

I never fail to hear Miles or Charlie Parker or Satchmo's Band while reading this terrific poem. 

Drum on your drums, batter on your banjoes
Sob on the long cool winding saxophones.
Go to it, O jazzmen.

Sling your knuckles on the bottoms of the happy tin pans.
Let your trombones ooze,
And go hushahusha-hush with the slippery sand-paper.

Moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome tree-tops,
Moan soft like you wanted somebody terrible,
Cry like a racing car slipping away from a motorcycle cop,
Bang-bang! You jazzmen,
Bang altogether drums, traps, banjoes, horns, tin cans -
Make two people fight on the top of a stairway
And scratch each other's eyes in a clinch tumbling down the stairs.

Can the rough stuff...
Now a Mississippi steamboat pushes up the night river
With a hop-hoo-hoo-hoo...
And the green lanterns calling to the high soft stars...
A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills...
Go to it, O jazzmen!

Carl Sandberg


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