“King Bolden” — a poem by Aurora Lewis

February 22nd, 2019

 

.

.

 

.

,

.

King Bolden

Storyville a bit of hell in the city of Saints
Piano men played ragtime and honky-tonk
It was there Buddy Bolden with his cornet
from the bandstand watched belly rubs
greasy heads, and roaming hands

He made it up as he played his tunes
mixing ragtime, honky-tonk, gospel, blues
giving them something new, they say
he was the first man of jazz they
called King

From Sunday worship to Saturday
night sin, causing musicians in
Storyville want to play with him
rocking the joint from sun then up

Chippies at his beck and call held
his coat, his hat, so they wouldn’t fall
They could never hold his cornet
How could he trust his horn to a whore
It was the only part of him he kept

All that fucking, drinking, raising hell
made Buddy lose his damn mind
at twenty-one, they pulled him
from his throne, barely grown

The county asylum, his new home
There till he was 54, then died
His unmarked grave lost with time
None of his recordings left behind

No lasting testament except tales told
over gin, cards, and memories passed
down by another King, Oliver
and that cat Satchmo, speaking on
the genius that was King Bolden
.

by Aurora Lewis

.

.

_____

.

.

 

.

Aurora M. Lewis is a retiree. In her 50’s she received a Certificate in Creative Writing-General Studies, with honors from UCLA. Her poems, short stories, and nonfiction have been accepted by.The Literary Hatchet, Gemini Magazine, Persimmon Tree, Jerry Jazz Musician, and The Blue Nib, to name only a few.   Aurora’s poetry was nominated by Gemini Magazine in 2010 for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize in 2011. The Literary Hatchet has nominated her for the current Pushcart Prize.

.

.

.

Share this:

4 comments on ““King Bolden” — a poem by Aurora Lewis”

  1. Aurora-

    What beautiful lines! “How could he trust his horn to a whore/It was the only part of him he kept” and “His unmarked grave lost with time/None of his recordings left behind” – I love it. Words like musical notes. The way it should be. Great work.

    John

  2. Aurora: Being a trumpet player, I went for this poem, it really “worked.” Really great images and words that brought Storyville and blues/jazz of this age to the reader. It’s odd I have never heard of Bolden.
    Did he play before Oliver and Satch? Or did he even play with them? Best, Alan.

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

photo of Sullivan Fortner by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Interview

photo by Michael Lionstar
In a wide-ranging interview, Nate Chinen, former New York Times jazz critic and currently the director of editorial content for WBGO (Jazz) Radio, talks about his book Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century,, described by Herbie Hancock as a “fascinating read” that shows Chinen’s “firm support of the music

Short Fiction

photo by Alysa Bajenaru
"Crossing the Ribbon" by Linnea Kellar is the winning story of the 51st Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest

Poetry

photo of Stan Getz by Veryl Oakland
Seventeen poets contribute to the Summer, 2019 collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, Michael Jarrett interviews producer Nat Hentoff about the experience of working with Charles Mingus at the time of Mingus’ 1961 album. Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus — recorded for Hentoff’s short-lived label Candid Records

Art

"Dreaming of Bird at Billy Bergs" - by Charles Ingham
“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

Poetry

Painting of John Coltrane by Tim Hussey
“broken embouchure” — a poem by M.T. Whitington

Art

photo of Chet Baker by Veryl Oakland

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Yusef Lateef and Chet Baker

Interviews

photo by Francis Wolff, courtesy of Mosaic Records
Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Poetry

photo from Pixabay
“The Fibonacci Quartet Plays Improv” — a poem by Gerard Furey

Short Fiction

photo by Gerd Altmann
“In Herzegovina, near the Town of Gorjad,” a story by Nick Sweeney, was a finalist in our recently concluded 51st Short Fiction Contest.

In the previous issue

Michael Cuscuna
Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...

Contributing writers

Site Archive