She loved to make love and so did Ira.
When they met they were already lovers,
didn’t matter what they did before that,
when growing up is all you ever do,
and now nobody was around to know . . .
that same old frightful daddy and mama
put the fear in you, twist it, and it stays
under the skin, out of sight but not mind.
He told her all about the back country,
she spoke of never going anywhere
nobody lived she knew or wanted to.
He painted the blue mountains with blue notes,
she listened close to find out the weather
from the rhythm section and Ira’s horn.
His horn! she had to laugh. It was his horn
she loved entirely, even after hours . . .
Her back against the window, Adore sang
words she found to go along with the notes:
I am your mama, didn’t I seem sweet,
she started, then thought it over, and sang,
When you love me, don't I seem sweet . . .
got so much honey you could eat all night,
I rise up singing what you know
I never meant to be a blues . . .
don’t get me wrong, baby, I’m so weary
I can’t help but be black and blue . . .
and she knew Bessie got hers from Louis,
knew she said Ethel was high toned, hincty . . .
Adore knew how to languish against glass
and stare until he stared back, not like they
do in Chicago, the end of the line . . .
while he didn’t need Chicago to play
what he knew every night New Orleans
would turn out to hear and she came along
flouncing, sashaying, humming her new song.
She undressed him and put her mouth on him.
She climbed aboard and the train left on time
and all the way to Chicago they came . . .
(12 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander