Literature » Poetry

“When You Fell Out of a Window” — a poem (for Chet Baker) by Alan Yount




For Chet Baker


when you fell out of a window
… you made me give up on you.
(maybe I shouldn’t have).

when the movie about you
recently came out: all of us
believed ethan hawke
was you, in “born to be blue.”

when your mouth & gums bled
with false teeth:
(you learning a totally
new embouchure),
it was more than a movie.

I was really falling out over that
being a trumpet player myself.


at this time
I got several of your
reissued c.d.’s.
I could not
get the tunes out of my mind
while playing them
on the trumpet too.

thinking of your end, again …
the picture in my mind never changes:
you were singing & playing, “my funny valentine,”
sitting on a window sill.


listening to more of your music
I shouldn’t have given up on you.

too bad you
faded away so quickly:

… and quit playing

“the thrill is gone,”

“we’ll be together again,”

“let’s get lost,”

or slowly … “I’ll be seeing you.”

or yet … even … as I hear

on my own flugelhorn

softly playing out,

in an uneasy measured quiet tone:

his song

“all or nothing at all,”

“something that might have been.”







Alan Yount lives on the north bank of the Missouri River, just south of Columbia, Missouri, and has taken poetic inspiration from boating and floating the river for many years. His poems have been published in a variety of publications, including Palo Alto Review, Roanoke Review, Spring…the Journal of E.E. Cummings Society, Apostrophe Magazine, Columbia College Journal of the Literary Arts, Modern Haiku, Pegasus Review, and Tidepool Magazine.  Alan also plays jazz trumpet, and has led his own dance band.  He is a direct descendant of the famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone.