“Lee and Helen” — poems by Ed Coletti

May 15th, 2019

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Lee and Helen

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1. all about Lee Morgan

bass
………piano
……………….blues

low
………down
……………….blues

and higher now
12 bar blues
right now
cliché
like
“a little bit a soda”
but not.

I know who you be
Lee
Lee Morgan
hard boppin
Cliff Brownin
muscle hornin
brass
………balls
……………….ballin

Lee Morgan’s haulin
balls-a-brass
triple tonguing
funky man!
shot to death by
your common law wife,

way too common, man!

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2. Every song’s got more to it
……………………………..(for Helen)

Watching the documentary
I CALLED HIM MORGAN
it began to gnaw at me
that I’d been unfair to Helen
Helen Morgan down South
who bore her first child at 13
her second at 14 and who gave
both of them up to be raised
by their grandparents before
she married a much older man
who drowned and she again was
alone but now independent and
on her way to New York City
where she earned her living as
a phone answering service worker
to keep an apartment on 53d St
where she cooked and made home
for herself and half the jazz musicians
in New York who knew her as their Mom
who knew how to cook and care for them
not the least of whom young Lee Morgan
she pulled from the gutter of heroin
took him to Bellevue started him on methadone
and a new life clean and brilliant as the best
horn player of his very young generation
Lots of love between them though Helen
quite understandably had an impossible time
abiding Morgan’s vibe for a woman who he called
his friend and who also understood him the way
Helen Morgan did Two women who understand
one man too well The first would never abide
the latter as with Frankie and Johnny it had to end
And boy could she ever cook!

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Ed Coletti is a poet widely published internationally and he curates the popular blog “No Money In Poetry.” Additionally, Ed is a painter. middling chess player, and harmonica player. He lives with his wife Joyce in Santa Rosa, California.

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